Jul 30, 2021
Paralympic Athletes to Earn Equal Pay to Olympians at the Tokyo Games.
In a historic first for the Olympics, disabled athletes at the Tokyo games will receive the same pay per medal as their able-bodied colleagues. Although this new pay policy was introduced by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee following the 2018 winter games in South Korea, this is the first games where the new policy is in effect.
Paralympic Competitors will now earn $15,000 for each bronze medal they earn, $22,500 for silver, and $37,500 for gold, boosting the disabled athletes’ potential earnings by up to 400%. This action by the US Olympic Committee is a life changing development for many Paralympians, some of whom struggled to pay for equipment, training, and travel costs to compete in their sport. The costs to compete and the meager payouts for disabled athletes meant that unlike their able-bodied fellows, many of them could not make a living off of sports alone and had to continue working part-time jobs to fund themselves.
Since the Paralympics launched in 1960, disabled athletes have suffered from marginalization relative to their Olympian peers. In the 2018 winter games, NBC broadcast over 2,400 hours of Olympics compared to a meager 250 hours of coverage of the Paralympic games.
This huge difference in attention and pay between the athletes makes readily apparent the disparity between how society considers the able-bodied and the disabled.
This balancing of athlete compensation represents a huge leap forward in how general society values the contributions and accomplishments of our citizens with disabilities. It’s a momentous victory for the athletes and the disabled community as a whole for getting the recognition and rewards they deserve.