IAAF Prize Money Sucks: Do Athletes Need Their Heads Testing?

Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and other top athletes are in the final stages preparing for the IAAF World Championship Athletics at the Olympic Stadium in London this August.

Next to the Summer Olympic Games the biennial IAAF World Championship is the biggest event for the athletes and fans.

Bolt and Farah have for the last decade made athletics appealing and fun to watch. But as athletes face anti doping tests this summers I wonder if their brains also needs checking too.

In 2007 the World Championship prize money for the finalists were as follows:

Place Individual.      Relay (per team)
1st     $60,000            $80,000
2nd   $30,000            $40,000
3rd    $20,000            $20,000
4th     $15,000            $16,000
5th.    $10,000            $12,000
6th     $6,000              $8,000
7th     $5,000              $6,000
8th     $4,000              $4,000

Since 2007 athletics has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity worldwide thanks to the achievements and ascendancy of stars including Bolt, Farah, Allyson Felix, David Rudisha, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, Valerie Adams, Christian Taylor, Sally Pearson, Jessica Ennis and Wayde van Niekirk. Athletics is one of those rare sports where super stars come from right across the globe.

The last 2 World Championships were held in 2013 (Moscow) & 2015 (Beijing) respectively and was seen on TV in over 200 nations. More than the Super Bowl.

With the upcoming World Championships in London I can guarantee that each session (rain or shine) will draw a sell-out crowd and an incredible atmosphere.

With that said the prize money for London 2017 will be as follows:

Place   Individual. Relay (per team)
1st.     $60,000       $80,000
2nd    $30,000       $40,000
3rd.    $20,000       $20,000
4th     $15,000       $16,000
5th.    $10,000       $12,000
6th     $6,000         $8,000
7th     $5,000.        $6,000
8th     $4,000         $4,000

No prize money increase since 2007.

  • How could such these athletes allow the governing body – IAAF – to get away with not increasing prize money for 10 years?
  • How could a former star athlete such as lord Sebastian Coe sit on the IAAF board throughout this period and not push for increased prized money? Coe has been IAAF president since 2015.

In the world of top class professional sports this freeze on any prize money increase is just crazy. It does not make business or sporting sense.

Next week’s Wimbledon tennis tournament in London will be seen in as many countries as that of the World Championship Athletics. Yet each loser (32 players) in the second round of Wimbledon will each earn $74,000.

In 2007 the Wimbledon single title winners each took home roughly $1.4 million. In 2017 the single title winners will each receive $2.8 million.

Since 2012, athletics has faced some bad publicity over a number of doping and corruption scandals, leading to the likes of Adidas ending their official sponsorship of the sport. But athletics is still an attractive enough sport to maximize lucrative sponsorship deals.

Contrary to popular myths other sports have also suffered bad press over doping & other scandals. Yet they continue to thrive with major financial deals/prize money for their top players. e.g. Major League Baseball, NFL and MMA.

[The winner of the PDC World Professional Darts championship  in 2017 won just over $450,000. Darts!]

I am not sure if the athletes have a trade union type body that speaks collectively on their behalf, but they certainly need stronger group representation when negotiating with the IAAF. This oversight by the athletes in the prize money for the Worlds is quite frankly unprofessional.

With a month still to go before the World Championship starts; should the athletes make a last ditch effort for improved prize money for the London event?


Sebastian Coe – International Athletics Austerity Fund?




About africanherbsman1967

It wasn't me
This entry was posted in anti-doping, athletics, BBC, olympics, sport, sports and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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