Paris Olympics track and field gold winners to get USD 50,000 prize money

India is hoping for a gold medal in Paris from reigning champion Neeraj Chopra

Olympic gold medal Image of a Summer Olympics gold medal used for representation | AP

In a first for an Olympic sport, gold-medallists in 48 athletics events of this year's Paris Games will be awarded USD 50,000 by World Athletics, which will widen the spectrum by giving prize money to all three medal winners at the 2028 Los Angeles edition.

India is hoping for a gold medal in Paris from reigning Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra, who finished on top in the Tokyo Games. He became the first Indian track and field athlete and second overall in individual sports to win a gold in the Olympic Games.

With the landmark decision announced on Wednesday, World Athletics (WA) will become the first international federation to award prize money at an Olympic Games.

"World Athletics ... will become the first international federation to award prize money at an Olympic Games, financially rewarding athletes for achieving the pinnacle of sporting success, starting at this summer's Olympic Games in Paris," WA said in a statement.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said the introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medallists was a "pivotal moment" for the international body and the sport of athletics as a whole.

"A total prize pot of USD 2.4 million has been ring fenced from the International Olympic Committee's revenue share allocation, which is received by World Athletics every four years. This will be used to reward athletes who win a gold medal in each of the 48 athletics events in Paris with USD 50,000 ((Rs 41.60 lakh)," WA stated.

"This initiative by World Athletics also includes a firm commitment to extend the prize money at a tiered level, to Olympic silver and bronze medal winners at the LA 2028 Olympic Games."

Relay teams will receive the same amount, to be shared among the team.

The format and structure of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics bonuses will be announced nearer the time of Games.

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

Coe said the move underscores WA's 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," he said.

"We started with the Olympic dividend payments to our Member Federations, which saw us distribute an extra USD five million 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."

Coe added that it is impossible to put a marketable value on winning an Olympic medal, or on the commitment and focus it takes to represent one's country.

"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." 


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