LAUSANNE, April 27 — The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) distanced himself from a taboo-busting move from World Athletics’ governing body to offer prize money to gold medallists at this year’s Paris Olympics.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe’s announcement earlier this month that track and field winners at the Paris Games will receive US$50,000 (€47,000) has sparked mixed reactions.

No other sports federation pays prize money at the Olympics.

During an exclusive interview with AFP, IOC boss Thomas Bach made it clear that he thought international sports federations like World Athletics should be focused on reducing inequalities between countries.


“The international federations have to treat all their member federations and their athletes on an equal basis and to try to balance this gap between the privileged and the less or under-privileged,” he said.

National Olympic committees rather than international federations were free to motivate their athletes with prize money, he said, noting that he received money from the German committee for his fencing gold medal in 1976.

“Each pillar of the Olympic movement has its role to play,” he said, adding: “It’s very clear what the responsibility of an international federation is and what the responsibility of a national Olympic committee is.”


Coe’s move was welcomed by some leading athletes, but has sparked a backlash from bosses of other sports amid concerns it will further entrench the advantages of rich countries.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) said it “undermined the values of Olympism” and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa called the move “repugnant to the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement.” — AFP