Olympic Games Paris 2024: Other Federation Kick Against Coe Decision To Reward Athletes With Money

The idea by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe to give reward money to Olympic gold medallists has surprised and displeased some of his fellow federation leaders, despite being well-received by athletes.

Coe caused a stir last week when he revealed that gold medallists in track and field at this year’s Paris Games will get $50,000 (47,00 euros), the largest payment ever made to an Olympic organisation.

World Athletics receives a revenue share allocation from the International Olympic Committee every four years, which will support the $2.4 million total prize fund.

Although it went over badly with some of the Briton’s peers, we will never know what Pierre de Coubertin, the man who founded the modern Olympics, would have made of Coe turning his big concern that a “spirit of gain and professionalism” would invade the Games into reality.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) president, David Lappartient, expressed his disapproval.

“If we concentrate money on top athletes, a lot of opportunities will disappear for athletes all over the world,” the Frenchman said.

“We really believe that this is not the Olympic spirit. The proposal was not discussed.”

Not merely the prize money offer irritated the IOC and Coe’s fellow federation presidents.

“What surprised everybody is that Coe took the decision unilaterally with one hour’s warning to the IOC and zero hours warning to other federations,” Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who retains close links to the body, claimed to AFP.

“The view of the federations, not unreasonably, is that they have been thrown under a bus. What are you going to do only three months before Paris?,” Payne said.

The Irishman argued that the Olympics are a “collaborative effort” and “you do not blindside people like that unless you want to create a media storm”.

“And that was the agenda.”

The International Tennis Federation stated that any future changes “would be made in consultation with the International Olympic Committee and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations” and that it had no plans to follow suit by awarding prizes.

In defence of his decision, Coe claims that the idea of the amateur athlete is out of date.

“I’m probably the last generation to have been on the 75-pence meal voucher and a second-class rail ticket when competing for my own country,” he said in announcing the decision.

“We’re now operating on a completely different planet from when I was competing, so it is very important that the sport recognises that change in landscape.”

Karsten Warholm, the Olympic men’s 400m hurdles champion, told AFP that paying prize money was “a smart move”.

“To be honest, anything offered in terms of a prize is good for the athletes, it’s motivation,” the Norwegian said.

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