Sprinter Aaron Brown Calls for Olympic Finalists to be Paid

Aaron Brown

In a push for broader athlete compensation, longtime Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown advocates for all athletes participating in Olympic finals to receive thousands of dollars from World Athletics. Brown’s stance comes ahead of the upcoming track and field events slated for this summer in Paris.

Responding to World Athletics’ recent decision to allocate $50,000 US to Olympic champions across 48 events from the International Olympic Committee’s substantial income, Brown welcomed the move as long overdue but emphasized the need for progression. Notably, payment plans for silver and bronze medalists are slated to commence from the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

“It signals [World Athletics] is putting an effort toward 2028 to finally revitalize the support structure for the athletes,” remarked Brown, a bronze medalist in the 2016 Olympic relay in Rio and a member of the Canadian squad that secured silver in Tokyo three years ago. “I wasn’t sure it would [happen] while I was still active as an athlete.”

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe defended the decision, acknowledging that “athletes are the stars of the show.” However, this move faced criticism from other Olympic sports bodies, including the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), which raised concerns about solidarity and potential financial implications for governing bodies.

Brown, a three-time Olympian, highlighted the stagnant or declining nature of prize money on the pro circuit, echoing sentiments expressed by his relay teammate Andre De Grasse. Both athletes emphasized the necessity for World Athletics to revamp its marketing strategy to attract more fans and increase athlete earnings.

In response, World Athletics emphasized the multifaceted nature of athlete support, stating that revenue streams are allocated towards various aspects of the sport, including athlete development and event organization.

Brown stressed the importance of athletes being involved in decision-making processes, advocating for the establishment of a track union with voting power and ownership to drive necessary changes and enhance athlete incentives.

“We can present ideas we believe could increase the appeal to a modern audience,” he asserted, aligning with Coe’s vision to elevate track and field’s popularity by the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.