How Paralympians were cheated on medal bonuses… until now


Earlier this year, we were engrossed in the Olympics and Paralympics. Now that the dust has settled, we wanted to recap one of the major turning points of the month – how Australia’s Paralympians got their medal bonus.

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Video Chapters —

00:00 – The simple fact
00:30 – Gold medal bonuses
02:00 – Paralympic funding
02:36 – Chloe Dalton\’s Go Fund Me
02:57 – Government announcement
03:40 – Outro

Transcript —

On the 29th of August, Greater Western Sydney footballer and Olympic gold medalist Chloe Dalton put up an Instagram post conveying her disappointment at a simple fact. While Olympians were offered cash bonuses for winning medals in Tokyo, the Paralympic counterparts were not.

I was really shocked and and felt really frustrated on their behalf. I was like, We\’ve got to do something about this.

There\’s some pretty big money available across the world for bringing home a gold medal in Singapore. Athletes could score a cool $1 million for the top spot. In the U.S., it\’s about $50,000. Australian athletes receive a $20,000 cash prize from the Australian Olympic Committee if they win a gold medal. Our Paralympians? Nothing. Until now, the best way to think about all of this is two streams of income, public and private.

Publicly, athletes can receive grants from the Australian Institute of Sports up to about $25,000, including the costs of travel to competitions. Meanwhile, some athletes are privately sponsored. For example, Australia\’s best swimmers and rowers are sponsored by billionaire Gina Rinehart, who reportedly provides a $525 a week wage for the top 50 competitors in each sport. Outside of this, athletes are free to seek their own endorsement deals.

So you might remember the deal between Harvey Norman and Irene Titmus that you saw on your televisions during the Tokyo Olympics. But as reported by multiple Australian Paralympians, the same financial opportunities are not readily available for them.

If you look back at the Olympics, it\’s been so well covered, televised, spoken about in the mainstream media that you can name multiple Olympians, their stories, their lead up to the events. But I think Paralympians haven\’t had that same level of coverage. Less people are actually seeing it, which means less sponsors come on board.

Paralympics Australia does get funding, but instead of funding going to athlete rewards, it\’s all spent on delivering Australian teams to summer and winter Paralympic Games. A far greater percentage of para athletes don\’t have private sponsorship when compared to their Olympic counterparts. According to reports, the Australian Olympic and Paralympic committees compete for the same funding from the government. TV broadcast deals will tend to favor the Olympics, which traditionally records better numbers than the Paralympics.

So for Chloe Dalton, the most practical solution was to launch a Go Fund Me page. So that the Tokyo Paralympic athletes could be rewarded for their hard work and success.

For me, it gave me a lot of hope that people coming together to try and make change can actually work.

Over $80,000 has been raised so far. Then within days the issue is being discussed across Australia, with Scott Morrison announcing a big change in the opening minutes of Question Time.

I\’m very pleased to announce that the Government will provide additional support to Paralympics Australia to ensure our Paralympic medalists will receive equivalent payments to our Olympic medalist. Mr. Speaker.

This is a good result for our Paralympians, but the harsh reality of how hard it is for Paralympians to support their lifelong pursuit for sporting dominance hasn\’t gone away.

We know that a medal bonus isn\’t the only area that needs to be fixed.

We\’re not just people with disabilities or whatever. We are elite athletes and we are, you know, trying to do what we do as best as we can from Promise.

He is the Paralympic champion.

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