"When I see someone win from a Caribbean island, I feel like I win, too." These words from Trinidadian sprinter Jereem Richards resonate deeply within the Caribbean athletic community, where a shared sense of pride transcends national boundaries.

As Richards gears up for Paris 2024, he reflects on his journey, the unity among Caribbean athletes, and his dream of Olympic success in an exclusive interview with World Athletics Inside Track.

Richards, a 30-year-old multiple global medallist, has become a beacon of inspiration for many. He clinched 400m gold at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and was an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago’s triumphant 4x400m relay team at the 2017 World Championships in London. However, his achievements extend beyond medals; they embody the spirit and resilience of the Caribbean.

"I would say Trinidad and Tobago is a melting pot of the Caribbean. We have very diverse people and a mixture of cultures when it comes to food, music, and everything like that. It’s definitely a really great country," Richards said, highlighting the vibrant cultural tapestry that shapes his identity and fuels his passion for track and field.

For Richards, track and field is more than a sport—it is a vital part of Trinidad and Tobago's history. "Track and field, to me, means a lot. To Trinidad and Tobago, it is definitely one of the most successful sports in our history. I try my best to use my platform to not just educate people about the sport, but to keep the people of Trinidad and Tobago interested in track and field," he explained.

The sense of collective pride among Caribbean athletes is profound. "When I see someone win from a Caribbean island, I feel like I win, too," Richards reiterated, emphasizing the unique bond that links the Caribbean nations in their athletic endeavors.

As Paris 2024 approaches, Richards remains focused on his lifelong dream. "This has been my dream, to be an Olympic medallist, from the first day I started running track and field," he said. "I’m just excited to go through the cycle this year and see how it turns out in Paris. I think my entire life journey builds up to this moment."

Richards also shared valuable advice for young athletes. "Try to find the good in each and every situation. Even if things don’t go your way, there’s going to be some part of that bad situation that has good in it. And even if you can’t find the good in it, use it as an example of what not to do or as motivation moving forward."

As he prepares for the upcoming Olympic cycle, Richards' journey stands as a testament to the power of perseverance and the unifying force of sports. His story inspires not only his fellow Trinidadians but also the entire Caribbean, as they collectively dream of Olympic glory in Paris 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the Paris Olympics on the horizon, JustBet has announced a significant partnership with three prominent Jamaican athletes as part of its latest campaign. The renowned sports brand, under Supreme Ventures Limited, is thrilled to welcome Reggae Boyz captain and goalkeeper Andre Blake, Olympian Stacy-Ann Williams, and motorsports sensation Fraser McConnell into its fold.

Scheduled for July 26 to August 11 in Paris, the upcoming Olympic Games serve as the backdrop for this exciting collaboration, marking a pivotal moment for JustBet as it reinvigorates its brand identity.

Kamal Powell, Head of Marketing at Supreme Ventures Limited, highlighted the strategic decision behind this partnership.

“We recently refreshed the JustBet brand and have just launched our new advertising campaign to reflect the energy of the brand. It was important to us to align with a diverse group of athletes who all represent excellence in sports to be part of the JustBet story," Powell remarked.

“The inclusion of accomplished athletes like Andre, Stacy Ann and Fraser in our new TVC underscores our commitment to showcasing the multifaceted nature of athleticism and entertainment while celebrating Jamaican sporting excellence. We are proud to partner with these amazing Jamaican athletes as we continue to elevate the JustBet brand.”

He emphasized the significance of each ambassador to JustBet's mission, noting, "Andre Blake, revered as the backbone of Jamaica's football team, joins as a symbol of leadership and resilience. Stacy Ann Williams, a formidable presence on the track, epitomizes the physical and mental fortitude it takes to be among the best in sports. Fraser McConnell, known for his fearless approach to motorsports, perfectly embodies the thrill and excitement that define JustBet's ethos. We are truly thrilled to welcome them aboard," Powell said.

In addition to their roles in the new TV campaign, these athletes will also contribute to broader community initiatives. Blake expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, saying, "Supreme Ventures has long been a supporter of sports in Jamaica, including football. I'm excited to not only be part of this new ad campaign but also to support the Andre Blake Foundation."

Through this partnership, JustBet aims to inspire fans across Jamaica to embrace the excitement of sports and entertainment while fostering unity and camaraderie nationwide. As the Olympic Games draw near, the collaboration with Andre Blake, Stacy-Ann Williams, and Fraser McConnell underscores JustBet's commitment to celebrating Jamaican sporting excellence and enhancing its brand presence in the local community.

 

 

Tamarri Lindo, a standout track athlete from York University in Canada, finds himself grappling with the looming threat of deportation just as his Olympic aspirations reach a critical juncture. Despite his impressive athletic achievements, including a recent bronze medal in the 60-metre hurdles for York University at the national collegiate championships, Lindo's dreams of representing Canada at the upcoming Olympics are in peril.

Tamarri's journey to Canada began in 2019 when he and his family fled Jamaica due to alleged threats and violence linked to his father George Lindo's political activism against gang influence in support of the opposition party. Tamarri, who has excelled both academically and athletically, earned a Ca.$2,500 scholarship after catching the eye of scouts while in high school.

"My goal was to make the 2024 Paris Olympics. But now, it feels like everything is being taken away," Lindo lamented in an emotional interview with CTV National News. "I feel like I could have a mental health breakdown. My heart is sinking."

Despite providing evidence of threats and violence faced in Jamaica, the Lindo family's asylum claims have been denied multiple times by Canadian immigration officials. The most recent pre-removal risk assessment, conducted in March 2023, upheld previous decisions, prompting the Canada Border Services Agency to issue a deportation order scheduled for next week.

Immigration lawyer Aidan Simardone, advocating for the Lindo family, has filed for a judicial review as their final recourse to remain in Canada. He condemned the decision, highlighting the potential danger awaiting the Lindos if forced to return to Jamaica.

"The fact that they are doing this is unconscionable," Simardone asserted. "It goes against our Canadian values of providing people their fair opportunities and protection to those in danger in other countries."

For Tamarri, who hoped his athletic achievements would bolster his family's case for residency, the uncertainty looms heavily. As he faces the imminent threat of deportation, he remains hopeful for a successful appeal while continuing to train and pursue his athletic goals amidst the uncertainty that surrounds his family's future in Canada.

 As the legal battle unfolds, supporters have rallied behind the Lindo family, advocating for a reconsideration of their case and hoping for a resolution that allows them to remain in Canada and for Tamarri to pursue his Olympic dreams.

 

 

 

As the countdown to the Paris 2024 Olympics intensifies, Jamaica's track and field sensation Elaine Thompson-Herah is feeling optimistic about her preparations as she aims to secure an unprecedented third consecutive sprint double. The Olympic champion shared her thoughts in an exclusive interview with Athletics Weekly, shedding light on her training regimen and mindset leading up to the Games.

"Training is going good so far; the work is never easy, it’s always hard. It’s an Olympic year so you have to put in that work," said Thompson-Herah, whose 10.61 in Tokyo is the Olympic record.

Under the guidance of Elite Performance Head Coach Renaldo Walcott, who also mentors the legendary Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Thompson-Herah acknowledged the adjustments required with a new coaching setup but expressed satisfaction with the progress.

Reflecting on her pursuit of greatness, Thompson-Herah emphasized the importance of continuous improvement. "It’s more about tweaks and adjustments because if you want to be great, you have to make tweaks and adjustments," she explained. "Along my career to be better each time, I go to improve and to work towards my dreams and my goals."

Thompson-Herah recognizes the formidable competition she faces, including her compatriots Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson, as well as American standout Sha’Carri Richardson. Despite the challenges ahead, she remains grounded yet resolute in her aspirations.

"I’m definitely confident, not super or over, but confident," Thompson-Herah affirmed. "I just want to stay focused and humble, have the right mindset and stay positive, no matter what obstacles or struggles come my way."

Having battled through injury setbacks, Thompson-Herah approaches this Olympic year with a mindful approach to her physical well-being. "It’s been super-difficult to know what you’re capable of and you’re not able to do that," she admitted. "For me, it’s all about staying patient and humble."

Acknowledging the evolution of her athletic journey, Thompson-Herah emphasized the importance of body maintenance and self-care. "It’s almost like you have a car; you have to service the car," she explained. "If I don’t service my body, I cannot produce to get those world record and times that I want."

As Thompson-Herah continues her preparations with a keen eye on the Paris Olympics, her dedication and resilience serve as testament to her unwavering pursuit of athletic excellence and historic achievements on the track.

 

Mayberry Investments Limited (MIL), a staunch supporter of Jamaican sports, has reaffirmed its commitment to athletic excellence by partnering with the Jamaican Ice Hockey Team. This impactful collaboration includes a significant sponsorship of US$10,000 to aid the team's participation in qualifying tournaments for the Winter Olympic Games in Chicago.

As a prominent financial institution deeply rooted in the Jamaican community, Mayberry Investments recognizes the importance of nurturing local talent and showcasing Jamaica's prowess on the global stage. Through this partnership, the company aims to not only bolster the Jamaican Ice Hockey Team's pursuit of Olympic qualification but also to spotlight the nation's capabilities in winter sports.

"We're thrilled to embark on this journey alongside the Jamaican Ice Hockey Team as they strive for Olympic qualification," expressed Chris Berry, Executive Chairman of Mayberry Investments Limited. "Our sponsorship underscores our steadfast commitment to fostering emerging talent and elevating Jamaica's presence in international sports. Witnessing the team's remarkable performance, we're resolute in our determination to nurture and propel them towards greatness," he added, highlighting Mayberry's unwavering support for the team's trajectory.

The Jamaican Ice Hockey Team, renowned for its extraordinary journey since 2019, has earned global acclaim with an impressive record of 12 victories out of 14 games played. Their comprehensive triumphs against teams from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Lebanon solidify Jamaica's status as one of the premier associate teams on the international stage, as highlighted by Don Anderson, President of the Jamaican Olympic Ice Hockey Federation.

"We at JOIHF are immensely pleased that Mayberry Investments recognized the value of sponsoring our team for the Tri-State Challenger Series between Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Lebanon," remarked Anderson. "This sponsorship significantly contributed to boosting the team's physical and mental well-being, enabling us to overcome challenges and emerge victorious in the tournament. We cannot overstate our gratitude for this sponsorship, which was embraced wholeheartedly by our directors and, most importantly, the players, who proudly posed in front of the Mayberry banner, particularly when receiving the player of the match awards, which we achieved on 3 out of the 4 occasions we played."

The team is slated to compete in the Challenger series, comprising three tournaments over the next three months, featuring matches against Puerto Rico and Lebanon. The series kicks off in Chicago on April 18–21, followed by events in New York on June 5–9 and Toronto on July 11–14. Anderson continued to commend Mayberry for its invaluable support, underscoring the significance of this partnership.

"JOIHF and the entire team extend heartfelt thanks to Mayberry Investments for their investment in the team," Anderson emphasized. "As a result of this greatly appreciated gesture, Jamaica emerged victorious in the first stage of the series, positioning themselves favorably to vie for the overall trophy in Toronto in July. This sponsorship is a win-win for all involved. Much gratitude from all of us at JOIHF," he concluded.

Through this collaboration, Mayberry Investments Limited aims to inspire a new generation of athletes and champion the values of resilience, determination, and teamwork. This sponsorship exemplifies Mayberry Investments Limited's enduring commitment to empowering local talent and fostering the growth of sports in Jamaica.

-ENDS-

Christania Williams, the talented Jamaican sprinter and 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalist, is setting her sights on reclaiming her peak form as she gears up for the Jamaica National Championships in June, with her eyes firmly set on securing a spot at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Since her impressive performance as part of Jamaica's silver-medal-winning 4x100m relay team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Williams, now 29, has faced setbacks due to injuries and other undisclosed health concerns. However, under the guidance of her coach, Philipp Unfried, she is focused and determined to return to her personal best time of 10.96 seconds.

Unfried outlined their strategy for the upcoming season, emphasizing Williams' goal of nearing or even surpassing her personal best. "The plan for 2024 is to get close to where she was, close to her PB or maybe around PB," stated Unfried. "She is going to do some more races now in preparation for trials and training went really well so far."

At the Velocity Fest 15 on Saturday meeting held at the Ashenheim Stadium in Jamaica, Williams demonstrated her potential by clocking a time of 11.76 seconds into a headwind in her qualifying heat, securing second place behind Remona Burchell, who won the heat in 11.52 seconds. Despite challenging conditions with winds affecting her heat, Williams progressed to the B final.

In the B final, Williams improved her performance, achieving a season's best time of 11.56 seconds. Although she finished second in the final, Williams' progress is indicative of her determination and gradual return to top form.

"Mentally, I am ready," expressed Williams. "The aim right now is to get back to my personal best. There is no pressure. Right now the focus is on me, just taking it one step at a time."

Williams acknowledged the mental fortitude required to overcome setbacks and stay focused on her goals. "It's about going into the race and doing exactly what I do in training," she affirmed. "I know I have a lot of potential, I still believe there is more in there and I still haven’t reached my full potential."

Despite the obstacles she has faced, Williams remains resolute in her determination to move forward. "With all that has happened in the past, I am just trying to put that behind and move forward," she explained. "I do have days when that really gets to me mentally but it’s life. If something happens, you don’t use that to keep yourself down."

As Williams continues her journey towards peak performance, supported by the unwavering guidance of Coach Unfried, the upcoming Jamaica National Championships will serve as a crucial stepping stone towards her ultimate goal of representing Jamaica at the Olympic Games in Paris.

In a recent episode of the Ready, Set, Go podcast, American sprint legend Justin Gatlin delved into the hypotheticals of Jamaica's historic 4x100m relay run at the London 2012 Olympics, suggesting that the world record of 36.84 seconds could have been even faster had former world record holder Asafa Powell been part of the lineup.

Powell, renowned for his blistering speed having held the 100m world record at 9.77 and 9.74s, missed out on the opportunity to join the likes of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, and Usain Bolt in that record-breaking relay team due to a groin injury sustained during the final of the 100m.

Gatlin, reflecting on the potential of the Jamaican squad, speculated that adding Powell to the mix could have propelled them to an astonishing 36.5-second mark.

"Adding Asafa Powell to that already formidable lineup of Bolt, Blake, Carter, and Frater could have pushed the team to an even faster time," Gatlin remarked on his podcast. Powell's absence, while the team still delivered Olympic gold, left room for speculation on just how much quicker they could have been.

Gatlin, a seasoned sprinter himself, understands the unique pressure and responsibility that comes with relay events. "There is a difference between being an individual runner at the Olympics or world championships and being part of a relay team," he explained. "If you falter as an individual, it's on you; but in a relay, it's on the country's back."

Reflecting on the challenges of breaking a world record in relay events, Gatlin emphasized the need for everything to align perfectly. "36.8 is a gigantic order. 37 low is a tall order," he admitted. "Everyone needs to be in peak condition and ready to run."

Looking ahead to the future, Gatlin also weighed in on Team USA's chances of breaking the 12-year-long Jamaican 4x100m relay world record in 2024. "It's going to take a near-perfect performance from a team firing on all cylinders to surpass what Jamaica achieved in 2012," Gatlin predicted.

Tennis greats Boris Becker and Martina Navratilova have called for Olympic medallists across all sports to receive prize money.

World Athletics announced earlier this month that it would be the first sport to offer Olympic prize money in Games history at Paris 2024, with winners in the 48 disciplines to receive 50,000 US dollars (£39,400).

Lord Coe, the federation’s president, said he was confident the International Olympic Committee would “share in the principle” of track and field gold medal winners earning prize money in Paris – but admitted his organisation had not discussed the historic move with the International Olympic Committee.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Navratilova, the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid.

“The Olympics have always been the biggest sports event and the athletes were the only ones not making money.

“Everybody was making money but the athletes. So I’m glad that’s changing because for some countries that’s a massive amount of money.

“For some of them it’s a drop in the bucket, but for some of them it’s a step in the right direction.

“Why shouldn’t they make money? Being a top athlete now is a full-time job. The days of amateurs have gone, thank you.”

Becker won singles gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, four years after the sport had returned to the Games following a 64-year absence.

He said: “When I listened to Sebastian Coe about prize money I said: ‘Finally someone is coming with the times’.

“Sport today is a full-time job, whether you’re a track and field athlete. a swimmer or in all the other sports represented at the Olympics.

“Everybody makes money off their back, so the athletes should not come last.”

Navratilova, like Becker a Laureus Academy member, also reiterated her objection to Saudi Arabia hosting the next three editions of the WTA finals.

The 2024 season-ending finals will take place in Riyadh in November, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams, and the event will also be played in Saudi in 2025 and 2026.

“We’re going to Saudi Arabia which is about as big a change as you can make, except for maybe going to North Korea,” said Navratilova, who says she has no plan to work at the tournament as a pundit.

“Chris Evert and I have made our views clear on that, but the players have made their choices. We’ll see how things work out.

“I heard a players say they ‘don’t want to be political’. Going to Saudi is about as political you can get.

“Welcome to sport. Sports is political and has been at the forefront of social change. I don’t see how anything happens there without the blessing of MBS (Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi ruler).

“He decides what goes and what doesn’t. We’re a bit egotistical to think we can make a difference, but who knows?

“The players have to honour that, they’re the ones competing. We’re not affected by it. We’re not going there to play.”

::The 25th Laureus World Sports Awards take place on Monday evening in Madrid. To find out more, and follow the ceremony, visit www.laureus.com

Jamaican sprinter Oblique Seville is gearing up for an electrifying showdown against world champion Noah Lyles at the upcoming Racers Grand Prix on June 1, setting the stage for a thrilling test of readiness ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Seville, who finished fourth at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest where Lyles clinched his first 100m world title, is optimistic about his chances this season, having managed to steer clear of injury thus far. Seville's coach, Glen Mills, revealed earlier this year that an injury at a crucial stage last season hindered Seville's performance in Budapest, where he clocked 9.88 seconds, narrowly missing out on a medal.

Reflecting on his preparation for the upcoming races, Seville expressed confidence in his improved health and training regimen this season. "This year I have taken some drastic steps with regards to my injuries and injury management. I am cautious with what I'm doing so I am healthy at this point, and everything is going well," Seville explained at Tuesday's launch of the Racers Grand Prix at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston.

Seville's recent performances, including a 47.44-second 400m and a 20.17-second 200m, demonstrate his dedication and hard work leading into this pivotal season. "The 47.44 and the 20.17 that I ran show my dedication and hard work, so it is a possibility that I can make it onto the medal podium if things work out as planned," Seville remarked.

 “Last year, I didn’t get to train the way I really wanted to but this year I got to train the way I wanted so everything is working out. I am stronger because I have got more chances training wise to do things I didn’t get the chance to do last year because of some niggles that I had.

“I had some issues with my back and stuff which caused me not to be able to lift weights as much as I could but I got it sorted out now and I am good.”

Looking ahead to the Racers Grand Prix, where he will face off against Lyles and training partner Zharnel Hughes, Seville expressed excitement about the opportunity to race against the world's best. "The last time I competed against Lyles was at the World Championship finals, so it's good to run with him before the Olympics to get a feel of what is to come," Seville emphasized.

The clash between Seville, Lyles, and Hughes at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston, promises to be a thrilling preview of what's in store for the Olympic Games in Paris, as Seville aims to secure his first global medal.

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy announced his retirement from competitive cycling 11 years ago, admitting: “I know it is the right decision.”

The 37-year-old Scot had been contemplating continuing until the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow but revealed he was quitting the sport at a press conference in Edinburgh on April 18, 2013.

Hoy was Britain’s most decorated Olympian after his haul of two gold medals at London 2012 saw him surpass rower Sir Steve Redgrave’s record of five, although he was overtaken by former team-mate Sir Jason Kenny in 2021.

In explaining his decision, Hoy said: “I think in sport at the highest level you’re dealing in such small margins and you can tell when you’re good but not good enough.

“It was very emotional coming in there (to the press conference) and I was trying not to watch the video montage with the sad music.

“I don’t want it to be a sad moment.

“I want to celebrate it and be happy because I know it is the right decision.

“It’s a decision that I didn’t take lightly and I thought about it very hard.”

As well as six Olympic titles, Hoy’s 13-year career featured 11 world titles and two Commonwealth crowns.

Hoy’s final race was the Olympic Keirin final on August 7, 2012 – on the final day of the London 2012 track programme.

Following retirement, Hoy pursued his passion for motorsport, including competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours, while he has also written children’s books.

In February 2024, the 48-year-old announced he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Jamaican Olympic gold medalist and world-renowned hurdler, Hansle Parchment, has extended his brand ambassador partnership with GraceKennedy (GK), marking a significant milestone in their longstanding collaboration.

 The renewed partnership not only solidifies the strong relationship between these two Jamaican powerhouses but also introduces an exciting development in athletic sponsorship. For the first time in the history of the World Athletics Diamond League, Hansle Parchment's competition attire will prominently feature the iconic Grace logo.

 Bruce James, Chairman of World Class Athletics Limited, emphasized the groundbreaking nature of this partnership, highlighting that it marks the first instance where a Caribbean brand will be prominently displayed on the running kit of a competing athlete in the prestigious Diamond League.

 Don Wehby, Group CEO of GraceKennedy, expressed enthusiasm about the extended partnership, which originally began in 2013. "Hansle perfectly symbolizes the values of excellence, resilience, and dedication that embody the GraceKennedy and Jamaican spirit," said Wehby. "We are incredibly proud to support him as he continues to inspire Jamaicans and the world with his phenomenal talent."

 Wehby also noted the significance of having the GraceKennedy brand showcased on a global platform like the Diamond League, calling it a historic moment for athlete sponsorship and Caribbean brand visibility in the international sporting arena.

 In response, Hansle Parchment conveyed his excitement for the continued collaboration, pledging to represent the GraceKennedy brand with pride. "I am honoured to represent GraceKennedy, a brand that is synonymous with Jamaica and has been a pillar of our community for generations," said Parchment. "This new chapter in our partnership allows me to carry the GK legacy with me onto the world stage, showcasing Jamaican excellence alongside a company that shares the same values."

 The extended partnership between Hansle Parchment and GraceKennedy signifies a strong commitment to promoting Jamaican talent and values on a global scale, underscoring the enduring impact of sport in fostering national pride and corporate success.

Olympic triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas has been ruled out of Paris 2024 with an Achilles tendon injury. The Venezuelan superstar jumper sustained the injury during a training session in Spain and has since undergone surgery in Madrid.

She shared the devastating news to her more than one million followers on Instagram on Friday.

"To my Venezuela, to the family of the Olympic and Sports Movement, especially to my followers; I want to inform you that I will not be able to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. With great pain and sadness I want to tell you that while training, by falling downhill from a jump, I was in intense pain that was diagnosed with an injury to my left Achilles tendon. My heart is broken and I want to say sorry that I will not be able to take part in Paris 2024," the 28-year-old said in a statement on her Instagram account.

“Today, I feel very emotionally affected by not being able to represent the team. The desire to defend my Olympic title excited me enormously but today I have to stop, understand this, recover and come back with a lot of strength to continue flying together,” she added.

Easily the most dominant female triple jumper in history, Rojas, is the current indoor and outdoor triple jump world record holder. She won gold at the Tokyo Olympics Games and is a four-time world champion, the last coming in dramatic fashion in Budapest last year. Her absence opens the door up to a number of contenders who will be gunning for their first Olympic title. Chief among them will be Jamaica's Shanieka Ricketts, Thea LaFond from Dominica as well as well as Cuba's Leyanis Perez Hernandez and the Ukraine's Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk.

Rojas expressed her anguish at not being able to defend her Olympic title.

"Today I feel emotionally affected by not being able to represent them, the desire to defend my Olympic title excited me enormously but today I have to stop, understand this, recover and come back with a lot of strength to continue flying together."

She wished the athletes representing Venezuela the best of fortunes in Paris this summer.

 

 

 

In a landmark decision, World Athletics has today (10 April) announced it will become the first international federation to award prize money at an Olympic Games, financially rewarding athletes for achieving the pinnacle of sporting success, starting at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

A total prize pot of US$2.4 million has been ring fenced from the International Olympic Committee’s revenue share allocation, which is received by World Athletics every four years. This will be used to reward athletes who win a gold medal in each of the 48 athletics events in Paris with US$50,000.

This initiative by World Athletics also includes a firm commitment to extend the prize money at a tiered level, to Olympic silver and bronze medal winners at the LA 2028 Olympic Games.

When sharing details of the decision, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe commented: "The introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medallists is a pivotal moment for World Athletics and the sport of athletics as a whole, underscoring our commitment to empowering the athletes and recognizing the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games.

“This is the continuation of a journey we started back in 2015, which sees all the money World Athletics receives from the International Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games go directly back into our sport.

“We started with the Olympic dividend payments to our Member Federations, which saw us distribute an extra US$5m a year on top of existing grants aimed at athletics growth projects, and we are now in a position to also fund gold medal performances for athletes in Paris, with a commitment to reward all three medallists at the LA28 Olympic Games.

“While it is impossible to put a marketable value on winning an Olympic medal, or on the commitment and focus it takes to even represent your country at an Olympic Games, I think it is important we start somewhere and make sure some of the revenues generated by our athletes at the Olympic Games are directly returned to those who make the Games the global spectacle that it is.”

The payment of prize money will depend upon the World Athletics ratification process, including athletes undergoing and clearing the usual anti-doping procedures. Each individual Olympic champion will receive US$50,000. Relay teams will receive the same amount, to be shared among the team. The format and structure of the LA28 Olympic bonuses will be announced nearer the time.

Max Whitlock has announced this summer’s Paris Olympics will mark the end of his glittering gymnastics career after more than two decades of history-making moments and “muck-ups”.

The 31-year-old, who has won three Olympic gold medals and three world titles, says he no longer fears life beyond the competitive side of the sport which drove him to become one of the greatest British athletes of his generation.

And whether it involves his quest to extend that remarkable legacy, or to win games of ‘Pick a Pair’ with his five-year-old daughter Willow, who will watch him at an Olympics for the first time in Paris, Whitlock’s competitive fires continue to burn as ferociously as ever.

“Working towards that end goal of my fourth and final Olympics is so exciting, and it will hopefully put me in a position to push the boundaries further, and make this final chapter the best it can possibly be,” Whitlock told the PA news agency.

“To have the opportunity to do that in front of Willow feels amazing. I always said I wanted to continue until she was old enough to watch me in competitions, and I love that she will get that chance in Paris.

“I get the feeling Willow is mega-proud. She loves going round telling people I’m the Olympic champion, and she thinks I win everything. Even when we’re playing ‘Pick a Pair’ together, my competitive instinct doesn’t stop.”

Whitlock’s almost decade-long career as a global champion, starting when he edged out pommel rival Louis Smith to become Britain’s first individual world champion in Glasgow in 2015, has masked periods of struggle and self-doubt.

“I’ve mucked up more times than a lot of people think,” insisted Whitlock, who missed out on a medal most recently at last year’s World Championships in Antwerp, where he came off the apparatus midway through his final routine.

“I’ve been to so many competitions, so many European Championships, where I’ve not been able to achieve what I wanted.

“But what it does is it massively hones you, it focuses you to go back into the gym and work on fixing things. Sometimes, it’s those mistakes that get you in the mindset to get where you want to be.”

Whitlock won two Olympic gold medals – on floor and pommel – within two hours on an unforgettable Sunday afternoon in Rio, as well as defending his world crown in Montreal and Stuttgart in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

But his fondest memory remains his first significant step on the global stage at London 2012, where he was part of a history-making bronze medal-winning men’s team and also took individual bronze on pommel, paving the way for his future exploits.

“London was such a big thing for me, to be completely doubted but to come away with those bronze medals, and it gave me the motivation and inspiration that I could go on from there and compete anywhere,” recalled Whitlock.

“I was approaching my prime and I felt invincible. The four years after London were amazing because it was about seeing how far I could take it. I felt like I was floating. If I hadn’t made London, my career might have turned out very differently.”

Whitlock’s third Olympic gold, in an almost empty Ariake Arena in Tokyo, preceded 18 months of soul-searching, during which he privately struggled with the concept that his competitive career was drawing to a close.

Almost three years on, however, his growing family and flourishing business, rolling out bespoke gymnastics courses for children, have given Whitlock renewed confidence that life without the constant calling to improve and excel can be equally rewarding.

“I feel like I’ve learned from the hard-stop of the Tokyo experience, when I was adamant that I was never coming back,” continued Whitlock.

“A lot of things weren’t really ticking the box. I had nothing to wake up to in the morning and think, ‘I’m going to work hard to try to achieve this.’ I’ve said I felt like a waste of space. But it’s different now.

“I’m equally passionate about the business I’ve set up, that creates a massive impact among young children, and the two complement each other because the enthusiasm I get from that is helping me have a really positive outlook in the gym.

“I know deep inside that Paris 2024 feels like the right time to say, ‘I’m done’. For 24 years I’ve been pushing to do everything I possibly can.

“I’ve got one final opportunity to grab, and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

The Paris 2024 Olympic triathlon could be delayed or see the swimming leg cancelled if water quality in the River Seine is adversely affected by weather conditions, according to the games’ president Tony Estanguet.

It was acknowledged that the possibility of heavy rain in the French capital could raise levels of E Coli in the water, despite over a billion euros having been invested in making the river safe to swim in for the first time in a hundred years.

On Tuesday, the Surfrider Foundation Europe charity issued a warning that samples taken have shown dangerous levels of bacteria in the water, just over a hundred days before the games are due to start.

And Estanguet has acknowledged there could be a knock-on effect to the possible use of the river.

“When we decided to have this competition in the Seine we knew it will be a big challenge,” he said speaking at Sport Accord in Birmingham, as reported by Guardian.

“But with the authorities, there is a big programme of investment and, when we talk about legacy, this project is fantastic.

“And we are still confident that the triathlon will be based in the Seine because we have contingency plans. We can postpone for rainy conditions. Because it’s programmed at the beginning of the Games we can wait for better conditions. So we are confident that it will be possible to use the Seine.

“We change the date and postpone from one day to three days until it’s OK. And there is a final decision where we could not swim – it’s part of the rules of the International Federation. It’s what we want to avoid, of course.”

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