World Athletics introduces $50,000 prize money for Paris 2024 Olympic

World Athletics (WA) will become the first international sports governing body to award prize money to Olympic gold medalists starting at the Paris 2024 Games, the federation said in a statement on Monday.

A preview of the gold medal which will be given out to winners at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

A prize pot of $2.4 million has been set aside by WA from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) revenue share allocation it receives every four years to reward athletes.

Athletes who win gold in each of the 48 track and field events in Paris will receive $50,000. Relay teams will receive the same amount to share amongst the athletes.

“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,” WA president Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

“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,” Coe added.

Traditionally, Olympic medal winners don’t receive prize money as the event originated as an amateur competition.

 

On Thursday, the IOC responded to WA’s prize money scheme, pointing to its own methods of funding athletes.

“The IOC redistributes 90 per cent of all its income, in particular to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs),” it said in a statement sent to CNN.

“This means that, every day, the equivalent of USD 4.2 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world. It is up to each IF and NOC to determine how to best serve their athletes and the global development of their sport.”

WA says it is committed to extending the bonus initiative to Olympic silver and bronze medalists at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. The reward structure and format for those Games will be confirmed at a later stage.

Coe later told reporters that he disagreed that this financial incentive would promote cheating, instead stressing the importance of highlighting the abilities of the world’s best athletes.

Coe later told reporters that he disagreed that this financial incentive would promote cheating, instead stressing the importance of highlighting the abilities of the world’s best athletes.

“It reflects World Athletics’ view that the athletes – our athletes make up 20% in numbers at an Olympic Games – should be recognized,” he said.

“I recognize that many Olympic champions will be in receipt of monies, financial support, from a range of organizations, whether it’s governments, whether it’s the National Olympic Committee, whether it’s commercial partners, this isn’t in any way to overshadow the Olympic Games, it is just World Athletics, one federation, and I’m only responsible for that.”

The Olympic Games officially get underway in Paris on July 26 and run until August 11.

George Ramsay contributed to this report.

A preview of the gold medal which will be given out to winners at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

‘I had friends who fell into this trap’

Garnbret says that her climbing role models growing up were all “super skinny” which only served to reinforce the notion that you had to lose weight in order to compete on the world level.

“When you see someone winning, you want to be like them. You want to have results like them. You want to look like them,” she says.

“I was the same, but luckily I didn’t fall into this trap. I had people around me to guide me on the right path.

“I had friends who fell into this trap, and I tried to help them in any way possible. I was trying hard for, let’s say, two years to help them get out of it, but I couldn’t help. It was really hard for me to see them destroying themselves, mentally and physically.”

It was experiences such as this that prompted Garnbret to post a message on Instagram in July 2023 about eating disorders.

“Do we want to raise the next generation of skeletons? Brittle hair, dull expressions, trying to show everyone you are ok but are you really?” she wrote in a lengthy post which looked to lift the veil on the once taboo topic.

Changing attitudes

The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) says it is aware of the issue and earlier this year implemented “comprehensive regulations” related to REDs, putting in place a new event policy for athletes participating this season.

The IFSC said it’s the first international federation to introduce such measures, which includes a screening procedure that will be fully operational by Paris 2024.

“The new system underscores our commitment to the health of our athletes,” IFSC President Marco Scolaris said in statement earlier this year.

“The policy will not only help us determine which athletes are most at risk, it will also help raise awareness of the issue, provide help to those who need it, and ensure the rights of each athlete are protected.”

The 24-year-old Garnbret knows changing attitudes will take time, but hopes things will improve for the new generation following in her footsteps.

“I feel very honoured and very happy to be in this position because I always want to give something back to climbing, because climbing gave me so much in general,” she says when asked how she deals with being a role model.

“I wanted to give back to the community, to the younger generation, because all the knowledge that I have, I want to pass on to youngsters. I want to help them achieve their goals, whatever that is.”

Olympic dreams

Garnbret now credits the experience of rehabilitating from the injury as making her a stronger climber.

“I just had to wait for my toe to get better, and then I could climb better than I was before,” she says.

“I learned a lot about myself in this period, a lot about training, a lot about how I’m dealing with things when things don’t go according to plan. I got a deeper understanding of myself and training.”

Garnbret celebrates on the podium after winning gold at Tokyo 2020.

With one Olympic medal in her pocket – Garnbret secured the combined gold at Tokyo 2020 – the Slovenian is hungry for more.

She still has that fire in her eyes, and hopes she can be as dominant in Paris after already qualifying for the Games.

“Once you have one Olympic medal, you always want another one. So I’m working really hard. I just want to be the best. I think this is what keeps me going. I always want to stay on top,” she said.

“I feel like I haven’t reached my full potential mentally, so I can still keep working on that.”

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