World Athletics has announced it will become the first international federation to award prize money at an Olympic Games, ahead of this year’s Paris Olympic Games.

Under this initiative, the organisation will give athletes who win a gold medal in each of the 48 athletics events $50,000. This money will come from a total prize pot of $2.4m that has been secluded from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) revenue share allocation, which is received by World Athletics every four years.

Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics, commented: “The introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medallists is a pivotal moment for World Athletics and the sport of athletics as a whole, underscoring our commitment to empowering the athletes and recognising the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games.

“This is the continuation of a journey we started back in 2015, which sees all the money World Athletics receives from the International Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games go directly back into our sport.”

In addition, this initiative also includes a commitment to extend the prize money at a tiered level, to Olympic silver and bronze medal winners at the LA 2028 Olympic Games. However, the format and structure of the LA28 Olympic bonuses will be announced at a later date.

In terms of receiving the money, the organisation has said that payments will depend on the World Athletics ratification process, including athletes undergoing and clearing anti-doping procedures.

Each individual Olympic champion will receive $50,000, whereas relay teams will receive the same amount, but the bonus will be shared with the team.

Coe added: “We started with the Olympic dividend payments to our Member Federations, which saw us distribute an extra $5m a year on top of existing grants aimed at athletics growth projects, and we are now in a position to also fund gold medal performances for athletes in Paris, with a commitment to reward all three medallists at the LA28 Olympic Games.

“While it is impossible to put a marketable value on winning an Olympic medal, or on the commitment and focus it takes to even represent your country at an Olympic Games, I think it is important we start somewhere and make sure some of the revenues generated by our athletes at the Olympic Games are directly returned to those who make the Games the global spectacle that it is.”

With the Olympic Games fast approaching, there are a lot of questions being raised about what countries will compete. Earlier this week, the UK government wrote a letter encouraging the IOC to allow Russian athletes to compete at this year’s Games. 

This a surprising U-turn after previously pushing for their suspension following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

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