• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Olympics chief rejects athletics’ prize money push


The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, has distanced himself from the World Athletics plans to introduce prize money for gold medalists at the upcoming Paris  2024 Olympics.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe recently announced that track and field champions at the Paris Games would receive $50,000 (47,000 euros), a move that has stirred varied reactions within the sports community.

Notably, no other sports federation currently offers prize money at the Olympics.

In an exclusive interview with AFP, IOC President Thomas Bach emphasized his belief that international sports federations, such as World Athletics, should prioritize efforts to reduce inequalities between countries rather than introducing prize money initiatives.

“The international federations have to treat all their member federations and their athletes on an equal basis and to try to balance this gap between the privileged and the less or under-privileged,” he said.

National Olympic committees rather than international federations were free to motivate their athletes with prize money, he said, noting that he received money from the German committee for his fencing gold medal in 1976.

“Each pillar of the Olympic movement has its role to play,” he said, adding: “It’s very clear what the responsibility of an international federation is and what the responsibility of a national Olympic committee is.”

Coe’s move was welcomed by some leading athletes, but has sparked a backlash from bosses of other sports amid concerns it will further entrench the advantages of rich countries.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) said it “undermined the values of Olympism” and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa called the move “repugnant to the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement.”