MNO Sports >Olympic Legacy >Olympics 2024: Sir Steve Redgrave criticises World Athletics' move to give prize-money to gold medallists

Olympics 2024: Sir Steve Redgrave criticises World Athletics' move to give prize-money to gold medallists

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Five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave has described World Athletics' decision to give prize money to Olympic gold medallists as unfair to other sports that cannot afford to do the same.

Athletics became the first sport to offer prize money to Olympic champions when WA President Sebastian Coe announced on Wednesday that gold medallists in Paris this year will each earn $50,000 (£39,957).

The announcement was met with a positive reaction from the world's leading athletes, with the $2.4 million prize pot to be split among the 48 gold medallists in Paris.

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A total of $540m was allocated to the 28 sports at the Tokyo Games with World Athletics receiving the most at $40m.

Redgrave, who won five successive Olympic gold medals between 1984 and 2000, said the prize money plan would turn the Olympics into a "two-tier" system.

"If you win an Olympic gold medal in any athletics event, you are able to earn substantial financial gains from those results," the 62-year-old told the Daily Mail in an interview.

"It smacks a bit hard for the sports that can't afford to do this. Rowing is in that situation.

"We struggle bringing sponsorship and finance into it. This separates the elite sports to the others like rowing, canoeing and most combat sports.

"They just don't have the same funding that there is in World Athletics. I would prefer that the money they're putting in to be helping more of the grassroots of their own sports or helping other Olympic sports to be able to be at the same level on the same footprint."

Redgrave added: "Most of the other sports won't be able to follow this. You're making this into a two-tier process. This is to me the wrong direction."

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