Millions Usain Bolt would have earned had World Athletics rewarded Olympic champions much earlier

Usain Bolt after winning one of his gold medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games || Credit: X

Millions Usain Bolt would have earned had World Athletics rewarded Olympic champions much earlier

Joel Omotto 16:00 - 14.04.2024

World Athletics will start rewarding Olympic gold medallists from this year but just how much would eight-time champion Usain Bolt earn had the cash prizes came a bit earlier?

Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt joked of whether there would be any retroactive payment when World Athletics announced its decision to start rewarding Olympic champions from this year.

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 medallist 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.

It prompted Bolt to jokingly ask if past winners had any chance.

“Any retroactive payment,” the Jamaican icon, who retired in 2017 posed on X.

It promoted questions on just how much Bolt would have earned from his eight Olympic gold medals had the cash rewards came when he was still active.

Bolt’s first Olympic double came in 2008 in Beijing, China when he won gold in both 100m and 200m, while setting world records in the two races which would have won him $100,000 (Ksh13 million).

He would go to the London Olympics and clinch three gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay with Team Jamaica.

That would have meant an additional $112,500 (Ksh14,625,000) in total, being $100,000 from the 100m and 200m, and an extra $12,500, his share from the relay windfall.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Bolt’s his last appearance at the Games, he achieved the same as four year earlier, completing the triple double of gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m which would have translated into another total earning of $112,500 (Ksh14,625,000).

That would have brought Bolt’s total earnings to $325,000 (Ksh45.5 million) from his eight gold medals at the Olympics and make him the highest earning athlete at the Games in the last 16 years.

It goes on to show how big athletes are missing out at the Olympics given there is still no cash incentive and why World Athletics’ decision is long overdue.

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