Track and Field Becomes First Olympic Sport to Offer Prize Money

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time, some winners at this summer's Olympics in Paris will take home more than a gold medal.

World Athletics, the governing body for track and field, announced Wednesday that it has established a prize fund of $2.4 million that will be used to award $50,000 to the gold medalists in each of the 48 athletics events scheduled for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. It marks the first time that prize money has been offered to Olympians by a sport’s governing body.

Many countries and national Olympic committees offer payments to medalists, but World Athletics will be the first federation to reward winners with cash prizes. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, for example, paid $37,500 to gold medalists at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, according to the Associated Press.

While only gold medalists will receive payouts this year, World Athletics announced a “firm commitment” to offer prizes to silver and bronze medalists at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“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,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

The prize money will come from the revenue sharing funds that World Athletics receives from the International Olympic Committee every four years. Gold medalists in individual events will receive the full $50,000, while winners in relay events will split the money.

Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).