Paralympians will finally be paid as much as Olympians for medals won at the Tokyo Summer Games
The Paralympic Games are a major international sports competition for athletes with disabilities. And just like their Olympic Games counterpart, the Paralympics are split into Winter Games and Summer Games, but for the first time, all athletes at the Tokyo Games (Olympians and Paralympians) will be paid the same for their medals won.
For years, Paralympians were paid less for their winnings than their Olympian counterparts, which is **cough** bullshit.
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced the change in pay parity after the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The 2018 Paralympic athletes who won medals in Pyeongchang received retroactive pay bumps, but the current Tokyo Games will be the first Olympic event to implement the pay parity at the actual event.
“Paralympians are an integral part of our athlete community and we need to ensure we’re appropriately rewarding their accomplishments,” USOPC Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said in 2018 at the time of the announcement. “Our financial investment in U.S. Paralympics and the athletes we serve is at an all-time high, but this was one area where a discrepancy existed in our funding model that we felt needed to change.”
So what do athletes in both games receive if they win?
Athletes in both the Olympics and the Paralympics will now receive $37,500 for each gold medal earned, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze. For reference, The New York Times states that previous gold medalists in the Paralympics received a paltry $7,500, $5,250 for silver, and $3,750 for a bronze. Some of these increases are 400%. After the 2018 Winter Games, the committee handed out $1.2 million in retroactive pay to catch their Paralympic winners up to the pay that their Olympian counterparts were getting.
Also, although the Olympics and Paralympics have been held in the same city, on the same year, since 1988, this year marks the first time that the Australian Olympic Committee (who will host the Olympics in 2032) included both sporting events in their official bid to host the games. Often the countries will only focus on the Olympics and the Paralympics are an afterthought, so it’s nice that Australia is bidding to host both Olympic events.
Per the Paralympic organization, there are currently 22 Paralympic sports sanctioned by the IPC at the summer games. The two newest sports to be given Paralympic status are badminton and taekwondo, which will make their debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. The Olympics will conclude on August 5, 2021 with the Paralympic Games set to begin on August, 25 and wrap up on September 5 and for the first time, with pay parity.