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Usain Bolt Demands $325,000 From World Athletics After Big Paris Olympics 2024 Announcement

Published 04/11/2024, 10:45 AM EDT

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With only 169 days to go, the 2024 Paris Olympics Games are already shaping up to be historic. In a recent update, track and field athletes have some exciting news. Influenced by the cash prizes offered to the medalists this year at the Summer Games, World Athletics took to their official Twitter account to announce prize money of $50,000 to Olympic gold medalists in each of the 48 track and field events in Paris (relay teams to share the prize). This marked a significant leap in an Olympic tradition.

This news attracted global attention within hours of the revelation. Alongside the poster, they penned, “World Athletics introduces prize money for Olympic gold medallists at Paris 2024, and all medallists from LA28.” Usain Bolt, an 8-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and a sprinting legend, wasted no time to respond to the update.

Taking to social media, he asked the World Athletics in a fun manner, and wrote, “Any retroactive payment😉.” His ask, while bold, is rooted in his extraordinary Olympic journey that began 16 years ago. 

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Usain Bolt’s Olympic journey began in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, where he secured not one but two gold medals in the 100m and 200m events. Despite his early success, his hunger for Olympic glory remained unquenched, leading him to return to the Olympic stage 4 years later in London. At the 2012 London Olympics, Bolt showcased his dominance again and clinched gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay events.

His remarkable feats solidified his status as one of the greatest athletes of all time. But he wasn’t ready to retire just yet! The 2016 Rio Olympics saw Bolt in action again, capturing three gold medals. Bolt’s record of six individual golds would have resulted in a total prize of $300,000, and an additional $25,000 for his two relay golds. 

When the landmark decision was announced, the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, said in an interview, “The introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medalists is a pivotal moment for World Athletics and the sport of athletics as a whole, underscoring our commitment to empowering the athletes and recognizing the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games.”

Since the former Olympic track and field athlete understood the sentiment attached to winning an Olympic medal for their country, he felt it was necessary to share the profit gained by them. Coe further added, “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.”

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The first-ever Olympic sport takes the first step!

Dating back to the ancient Olympics in 776 B.C., the inaugural event was a stadion race, a 200-m sprint, which was invariably the length of the Olympic stadium! Commencing every four years since then, the Olympics grew to contain other events like Javelin, Discus, and broad jump.

However, when the ancient Olympics was resurrected in 1896 in Athens, the organizers required the athletes to be amateurs. Anyone who earned money for participating was prohibited from taking part in the event. After 128 years, track and field has now shattered the long-standing prohibition!

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Remarkably, the US boasts a total of 333 gold medals in track and field, amounting to an impressive 16.65 million in prize money. Among all-time track and field athletes, Carl Lewis stands out with 9 Olympic gold medals, equating to $450,000 of potential prize money!

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Written by:

Yashika Dutta

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Yashika Dutta is an Olympic Sports writer at EssentiallySports who actively covers NCAA Division 1 Volleyball. This state-level basketball player showcased her journalistic skills by covering live stats of the 2023 Big Ten Volleyball Championships and the 2023 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Championships. Beyond the thrill of the court, Yashika delves into the combating realm covering NCAA wrestling, especially the celebrated careers of David Taylor and Spencer Lee. To know more about her, follow Yashika on:-
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Edited by:

Suman Varandani