Olympic Games - Christopher Samuda is JOA president
Christopher Samuda is JOA president

As World Athletics introduces prize money for gold medalists at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Christopher Samuda has voiced concerns about maintaining the traditional spirit of the Olympics. Each gold medal winner will receive US$50,000, with the same amount being distributed among members of winning relay teams.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe defended the move, stating that the decision acknowledges the immense contributions athletes make to the global success of the Olympic Games. “I don’t believe this is remotely at variance with the concept that the International Olympic Committee often talks about, which is recognising the efforts that our competitors make for the overall success of the Games,” Coe remarked.

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However, Samuda expressed reservations, highlighting a potential shift away from the Olympics’ longstanding ethos. “Giving prize money for Olympic gold medalists is understandably a sign of the times and marks what appears to be a growing high tide of world opinion,” Samuda commented. He noted that the evolving professional status of sports increases the demand for rewarding athletes, especially given the competitive marketing and promotional landscape.

Despite recognizing the practical reasons for the decision, Samuda emphasized the need to preserve the foundational values of Olympism. “It is understandable in the circumstances. However, the priceless values in sport which Olympism embodies must be safeguarded,” he told SportsMax.TV.

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The introduction of prize money at the Olympics marks a significant policy shift, reflecting broader changes in the sports world but also raising questions about the future of Olympic traditions.

Track and field legend Usain Bolt also added his voice, playfully queried, “Any retroactive payment?” This cheeky remark from Bolt came in response to the announcement made on Wednesday, April 10, sparking a mix of laughter and nostalgia within the athletics community.

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