Paris Olympics 2024: Offering prize money at Games against 'Olympic spirit' says cycling boss

Olympic Games GETTY IMAGESImage caption: The athletics events run between 1-11 August at this summer's Olympics
GETTY IMAGES Image caption: The athletics events run between 1-11 August at this summer's Olympics

World Athletics' decision to award prize money at the Paris Olympics goes against the Olympic spirit, says the head of cycling's governing body.

World Athletics will become the first federation to offer prize money at an Olympics this summer.

Gold medallists in athletics events will earn $50,000 (£39,400).

"The Olympic spirit is to share revenues and have more athletes compete worldwide," UCI president David Lappartient said.

"Not only [to] put all the money on the top athletes but spread the money.

"If we concentrate money on top athletes, a lot of opportunities will disappear for athletes all over the world."

Given the Olympics' origins as an amateur sports event, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not award prize money but distributes funding through international federations (IF) and national Olympic committees (NOC).

World Athletics' move, which will be extended to silver and bronze medallists for the 2028 Games, was widely praised by former athletes when it was announced by its president Lord Coe.

Asked at the time if prize money went against the Olympic spirit, Coe said: "I don't see that making life a little easier for the athletes, allowing them maybe to stay on in the sport a little bit longer, to give them the financial independence to train, and maybe in a more sophisticated way is anything other than sitting behind good firm Olympic principles."

But on Tuesday Lappartient said: "We really believe that this is not the Olympic spirit.

"The proposal was not discussed."