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​US Paralympians Now Paid Same Amount As Olympic Athletes For First Time

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​US Paralympians Now Paid Same Amount As Olympic Athletes For First Time

US Paralympians are now receiving the same amount of money as their Olympic counterparts, in a bid to ensure they are 'appropriately rewarded' as an 'integral part' of the athletic community.

For the first time, Team USA athletes competing at the Paralympic Games this year will earn the same amount for winning medals in Tokyo as those at the Olympics.

The equal payout is thanks to a new rule that was passed in September 2018, which made medal pay equal for the Olympics and Paralympics as part of a movement to recognise the two games as being on the same level.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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In a statement at the time, United States Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said: "Paralympians are an integral part of our athlete community and we need to ensure we're appropriately rewarding their accomplishments," United States Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said at the time.

"Our financial investment in US 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."

According to the Independent, it is the first time that the equal payment rule will be in place for the games - although it was applied retroactively to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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The outlet reports that Paralympians were previously paid $7,500 for gold, $5,250 for silver, and $3,750 for bronze.

But after the change they saw a boost of as much as 400 percent, now earning the same as Team US Olympic athletes - which is $37,500 for a gold medal, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze.

In 2019, the USOC also changed its name to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, with USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons saying in a statement: "This is a proud day for Paralympic and Olympic sport in the United States and a change that is representative of our organization's commitment to inclusivity.

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"While the name is new, our dedication to Paralympics is an established value - evidenced by the number of Paralympic athletes who receive support and by the strength of the U.S. Paralympic Team. The world-class Paralympic athletes - and staff who support them - deserve this recognition as outstanding representatives of Team USA."

Four-time Paralympian Oksana Masters added in a statement: ""This change is about more than an organizational name. To me this means that Paralympic athletes are fully included, embraced and celebrated by the USOPC.

"I have personally felt the growing support for Paralympic athletes and the Paralympic Movement by this organization. I am so proud to represent the U.S. in competition - and this allows me to take similar pride as a member of Team USA."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: SPORT, News, US News

Jess Hardiman
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