Athletes triumphing in track and field at this year's Paris Olympics won't just claim gold

Winners of track and field events at this year’s Olympics in Paris will receive more than just a gold medal. They’ll also get a $50,000 prize.

World Athletics, the governing body for track and field, said Wednesday it will allocate $2.4 million from the International Olympic Committee’s revenue sharing to winners in 48 events. It’s the first time a sport has offered prize money at the Olympics, the quadrennial spectacle that was once regarded as the pinnacle of amateur athletics.

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

Payments for silver and bronze medalists will begin at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, said Coe, who won gold medals in the 1500-meter race for Great Britain in 1980 and 1984. Relay teams that win gold medals will split the $50,000 prize among the four members.

When asked by reporters whether the move violated the spirit of the Olympic Games, Coe said, “I don’t think it does,” according to the Guardian.

“My view is that the world has changed,” he said. “It’s really important that where possible, we create a sport that is financially viable for our competitors. This is the beginning of that.”

The payment of prize money will depend upon the World Athletics ratification process, including athletes undergoing and clearing the usual anti-doping procedures, the federation said.

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