Lord Coe believes IOC will ‘share in the principle’ of medal winner prize money

By Sports Desk April 10, 2024

World Athletics president Lord Coe is confident the International Olympic Committee would “share in the principle” of track and field gold medal winners earning prize money in Paris – but admitted his organisation had not discussed the historic move with the IOC.

Athletics’ international federation announced on Wednesday that it would be the first sport to offer Olympic prize money in Games history, with winners in the 48 disciplines to receive US$50,000 (£39,400).

Coe said World Athletics chief executive Jon Ridgeon had given the IOC the heads-up about the announcement on Wednesday morning but confirmed the initiative had not been discussed with the IOC in advance.

Asked whether that approach should be seen as surprising, Coe said: “I don’t think so. It’s a matter for the sport.

“The one thing the International Olympic Committee has consistently recognised – and they’re right to – is the primacy of international federations to fashion their own futures.

“I don’t believe this is remotely at variance with the concept that the International Olympic Committee often talks about, which is recognising the efforts that our competitors make.

“I am hoping the IOC would share in this principle, given their avowed commitment to make sure that revenues raised through the Olympic Movement find their way back onto the front line. I think they make the point that 80 or 90 per cent of that goes back.”

The IOC has been contacted for comment.

A total prize pot of US$2.4 million (£1.89m) has been ringfenced by World Athletics for Paris, with the federation committed to introducing prize money for silver and bronze medallists from the Los Angeles 2028 Games onwards.

Some of the early social media reaction to World Athletics’ announcement was that the concept of prize money ran counter to the Olympic spirit of amateurism.

Coe said he had “no concern” in that respect, adding: “Introducing prize money for gold medallists acknowledges that the athletes are the reason that billions of people watch the Games and why it attracts such high revenues.

“I am probably the last generation to have been on the 75 pence meal voucher and second class rail fare competing for my country.

“I do understand the nature of the transition we’ve been in and we’re now operating in a completely different landscape, a completely different planet, from when I was competing.

“So it is very important that this sport recognises the change in that landscape and the added pressures on competitors.”

The US$50,000 gold medal prize will be split between the winning team in relay events.

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