World Athletics Sparks Controversy with $50,000 Prize for Olympic Gold Medalists

World Athletics to offer $50,000 prize for Olympic gold, sparking controversy over commercialization and Olympic values. Governing bodies clash over this unprecedented move, raising concerns about the future of the Games.

author-image
Salman Khan
Updated On
New Update
World Athletics Sparks Controversy with $50,000 Prize for Olympic Gold Medalists

World Athletics Sparks Controversy with $50,000 Prize for Olympic Gold Medalists

World Athletics, the governing body for track and field, has announced that it will award $50,000 in prize money to each gold medalist at the 2024 Paris Olympics. This unprecedented move marks the first time a sports federation has offered prize money at the Olympics, igniting controversy among various sports associations and purists who argue that it undermines the values of Olympism and the uniqueness of the games.

The decision was made unilaterally by World Athletics without consulting the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or National Olympic Committees (NOCs). The IOC was only informed of the decision shortly before the announcement and was not consulted. British Olympic Association (BOA) chief executive Andy Anson criticized the move, stating that it creates problems by setting a precedent that other sports may feel pressure to follow. Anson warned of the risks of creating a divide between sports and a two-tier system.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) issued a strongly worded statement criticizing the World Athletics plan. ASOIF argues that this move undermines the values of Olympism and the uniqueness of the Olympic Games, as putting a price on an Olympic gold medal goes against the principle of solidarity among sports. ASOIF also notes that not all sports can afford to replicate this prize money scheme, and that Olympic revenues should be invested in development and integrity matters rather than prize money.

Why this matters: The decision by World Athletics to offer prize money at the Olympics has far-reaching implications for the future of the games and the Olympic movement as a whole. It raises questions about the commercialization of the Olympics, the potential for a divide between well-funded and less privileged sports, and the erosion of the traditional Olympic values of amateurism and solidarity.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the organization only informed the IOC shortly before the announcement, and the IOC responded that it is up to each sport's governing body to decide how they spend their share of Olympic revenue. The IOC redistributes 90% of its income from the Olympic games to sporting governing bodies like World Athletics. ASOIF says it will raise these concerns with World Athletics and the IOC, indicating a potential rift within the Olympic movement over this issue.

Key Takeaways

  • World Athletics to award $50,000 to each Olympic gold medalist in 2024.
  • This unprecedented move sparks controversy among sports associations and purists.
  • IOC and NOCs were not consulted, raising concerns about commercialization of Olympics.
  • ASOIF criticizes the plan, arguing it undermines Olympic values and solidarity.
  • Potential rift within Olympic movement as concerns are raised with World Athletics and IOC.