Michael Johnson voices opinion towards World Athletics’ decision to reward Olympic gold medallists

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Michael Johnson voices opinion towards World Athletics’ decision to reward Olympic gold medallists

Joel Omotto 11:10 - 11.04.2024

American sprint legend Michael Johnson has expressed his feelings towards World Athletics’ decision to introduce prize medalists for athletes who win gold at Paris Olympics.

American sprint legend Michael Johnson feels the decision by World Athletics to reward gold medallists at the Paris Olympians is long overdue.

World Athletics became the first sport to introduce prize money at the Olympics after announcing that a $2.4 million (Ksh312 million) kitty has been set aside to pay the gold medallists across the 48 events on the track and field programme for this year's Paris Olympics.

Each gold medalist in track and field will be rewarded $50,000 (Ksh6.5 million) while relay teams will split the same amount between their members in what is a landmark decision for the sport.

The athletics governing body also announced that the cash rewards will be extended to silver and bronze medallists from the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles and Johnson is among those who agree with the decision.

“World Athletics will offer $50K per gold medal won in Paris, and will extend prize money to silver and bronze at LA28 Games. Long overdue,” Johnson posted on online.

World Athletics said the introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medallists is part of its commitment to empower 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,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.

“We started with the Olympic dividend payments to our Member Federations, which saw us distribute an extra US$5m 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.

“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.”

The move has seen fans ramp up pressure on the International Olympic Committee to consider introducing prize money at the Olympics.

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