Duncan Scott and Matt Richards want equal Olympic prize money across sports

Track and field athletes are to win money at the Paris Olympics.

Duncan Scott believes the world’s elite swimmers deserve the chance to compete for the type of cash bounty on offer to track and field champions at the upcoming Olympics.

World Athletics announced earlier this month that it would be breaking with tradition by rewarding gold medallists in 48 events at the Paris showpiece with prize money of 50,000 US dollars (£40,000).

As things stand, there will be no such riches for triumphant swimmers but Scott – Great Britain’s most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time – would like to see that change.

“It’s a weird one for me given that I’ve already competed at two,” said the 26-year-old Scot, who won two silver medals at Rio 2016 and three silvers and a gold at the last Games in Tokyo.

“Maybe for someone who has not competed for Team GB before, there may be an expectation (of cash reward).

“With World Athletics, is there maybe some external pressure because there are now other opportunities for athletes that’s forcing them to make this decision?

“If that is the case, that’s probably a positive for sport, and hopefully swimming can follow.

“I definitely think it would be welcomed within swimming. It’s taxing so much on the body in terms of 20-plus hours a week in the pool and so many gym sessions.

“It’s a sport I’ve grown up watching and I’ve fallen in love with it. I’m kind of an anorak of the sport and I feel like a lot of the top athletes don’t get the credit they deserve.

“From Caeleb Dressel to Kristof Milak to David Popovici – the list goes on – these are superstars in our sport and I don’t know if they get the coverage they truly deserve.

“It’s a bit of a shame in swimming that the only real publicity we get is every four years when it comes to the Olympic Games.

“It can be really tough being a swimmer in GB but Aquatics GB seem like they’re wanting to move it in a positive direction.

“We had fully sold-out trials in London, it was filmed on Channel Four and things like that, so hopefully it’s pointed in the right direction, with a bit more positivity to come.”

Fellow Team GB swimmer Matt Richards feels it may become incumbent on the International Olympic Committee to ensure parity of prize money across all sports.

“It’s a complex issue because obviously it’s World Athletics offering the money as opposed to the IOC,” said the 21-year-old, who will be going to his second Games this summer.

“The Olympic Games obviously is incredible, winning Olympic gold is incredible, that’s why we do it as athletes.

“We go knowing we’re not going to make any money off the back of it. However, do I think that’s necessarily right? Probably not.

“When the Olympics is making the kind of revenue it makes every four years it’s crazy money, big business at the end of the day.

“I think when you look at that you go ‘it makes a lot of money, but then the athletes aren’t actually going to be able to win any of that’.

“If the IOC step up and say ‘we’ll put a blanket amount, this is how much the medals are worth across all sports, here you go’, I think that would make a lot of athletes a lot happier.”

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