The Australian Olympic Committee has revealed a cash payment for medal winners at the Tokyo Games won’t be given to athletes who are retiring.
It emerged during the Tokyo Olympics that Australia’s medallists would be rewarded for their efforts with $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.
‘VIOLATING THE CHARTER’: North Korea banned from 2022 Olympics
‘LIFE ISN’T FAIR’: Aussie star’s amazing medal after family tragedy
However the AOC confirmed this week that the payment won’t go to athletes who stop competing.
The AOC told the ABC the ‘Medical Incentive Funding’ is “an annual athlete incentive scheme, not a reward program”.
“MIF aims to incentivise athletes to continue training, with the goal of representing Australia at the next Olympic Games, summer and winter.
“Athletes must maintain appropriate training regimes with the intention of gaining national selection in the following year in order to receive the payment.”
That means any athlete who won a medal in Tokyo but is planning to retire won’t receive their money.
However some individual sporting organisations have their own bonus payments in place, while a number of high-profile Australians have pledged to pay our medal-winning athletes.
For example, billionaire Harry Triguboff pledged to donate $645,000 (or $5000 each) to Australia’s Olympic medallists.
The 88-year-old said he had been motivated to make the donation in light of the significant disruption to the athletes’ preparation and finances due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart also offers financial support for Australia’s swimmers.
Nevertheless, Australians were still gobsmacked to learn the AOC payment won’t go to retiring athletes, with some labelling the development “disgraceful” and “pathetic”.
This is a disgraceful development, medal winning athletes win their medals because of a lifetime of training, not giving them this payment because they’re retiring is unjust and pathetic.
No AOC medal payments for retiring Olympianshttps://t.co/Q2YskhC2da
— Oz🕯 No filter, no Gateway .💉💉 ❤ 🇦🇺 (@ozziewiltshire) September 9, 2021
No AOC medal payments for retiring Olympians https://t.co/QIlGBx7AMD This Utterly Stinks As They Have Done All The Hard Work And They Now Get Rewarded With Diddly Scwat
— 💧DUKE Clyde (HANSARD)CFW9 (Biden-Harris ELECT)💧 (@nobby15) September 8, 2021
Spin by the administrators to make themselves look good while depriving those who do the hardcwork and achieve great success. Shameful. ‘No AOC medal payments for retiring Olympianshttps://t.co/1Xm5B8LaK8
— Keith Newton (@keith_ec) September 8, 2021
Paralympians receive equal payments as Olympic compatriots
Unlike their able-bodied counterparts, Australia’s Paralympic medallists will still receive bonus payments even if they are retiring.
Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the federal government would reward each Australian Paralympics medal in Tokyo with the same money that the AOC provides for the Olympic team.
Australians were left seething after initially learning that our Paralympic heroes don’t receive the same payments.
But after a groundswell of calls for change, the federal government stepped in.
Paralympics Australia hailed it as a landmark move towards equity in sport and wheelchair tennis great Dylan Alcott called it a win for people power.
“How cool is this news. It’s because of all of you backing the Paralympic Games and making some noise to make this change happen,” Alcott tweeted.
“We appreciate the support of the Australian public so much, and hope the last week has put some smiles on some faces back home!”
The government added it will work with Paralympics Australia and other sporting bodies to increase corporate backing for para-sports.
“Australia’s para-athletes have represented our nation with great distinction and pride in Tokyo, delivering performances that have buoyed millions during what is a difficult time for the nation,” the government said in a statement announcing the funding.
“This additional commercial revenue could ensure Paralympics Australia can sustainably make medal bonus payments to athletes at future Paralympics.”
It means Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic medallists will go home with a total of roughly $2 million in bonus payments.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.