Andre De Grasse

Photo: Michael Doyle.

Stuart McMillan, the coach of Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, posted his thoughts regarding prize money in the sport of track and field to social media on Sunday. “Our sport has a problem,” he says.

He compares winnings in athletics to those of tennis, specifically the IAAF Diamond League Final and the U.S. Open. The Arizona-based coach has mentored Andre De Grasse since the 22-year-old joined ALTIS, a high-performance training group, back in late 2015. De Grasse went on to win three medals at the Rio Olympics and was a medal favourite for the 2017 IAAF World Championships before withdrawing due to injury.

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“I started writing this a couple of weeks ago,” the Canadian coach says. “Some recent twitter interaction has motivated me to finish, and post it.”

I started writing this a couple of weeks ago. Some recent twitter interaction has motivated me to finish, and post it: Our sport has a problem. On August 24th, in Zurich, 23 year old British sprinter CJ Ujah won the finale of the most elite competitive series that this sport has to offer – the IAAF Diamond League. In perhaps the most competitive event, in perhaps the world's most competitive sport, at what is supposedly the year's premier Series Final, CJ took home $50,000 for winning. 2nd place finisher, Ben Meité, won $20,000. For finishing 4th, World Champion Justin Gatlin won $6000. 4th place … In arguably the world's most competitive event in the most competitive sport; the event which – along with the Heavyweight Champion in boxing – has historically captured the imagination of the entire world like no other. … $6000. In the currently finishing US Open of tennis – one of 4 yearly Major Series competitions in the sport – 23 year old Japanese player Taro Daniel lost to Rafa Nadal in the 2nd round. Daniel is ranked number 121 in the world in men's singles. The US Open was his first ever. In his young career, he has won 14 ATP matches (the ATP World Tour is the tennis equivalent of the IAAF Diamond League – but with FAR more competitors in a FAR less competitive sport, played in FAR less countries, by FAR less people), while losing 29. He has won zero career titles, and has never advanced past the 2nd round at a Major. For winning a total of one match at this year's US Open, Daniel won $50,000. The 4th place finisher won $920,000 – 150x that won by Gatlin. Our sport has a problem.

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“Our sport has a problem.

On August 24, in Zurich, [Switzerland], 23-year-old British sprinter CJ [Chijindu] Ujah won the finale of the most elite competitive series that this sport has to offer – the IAAF Diamond League.

In perhaps the most competitive event, in perhaps the world’s most competitive sport, at what is supposedly the year’s premier Series Final, CJ [Chijindu] took home $50,000 for winning.

Second place finisher, Ben Meité, won [US]$20,000.

For finishing fourth, World Champion Justin Gatlin won $6,000.

Fourth place…

In arguably the world’s most competitive event in the most competitive sport; the event which – along with the Heavyweight Champion in boxing – has historically captured the imagination of the entire world like no other…. $6,000.

In the currently finishing US Open of tennis – one of four yearly Major Series competitions in the sport – 23-year-old Japanese player Taro Daniel lost to Rafael Nadal in the second round. Daniel is ranked number 121 in the world in men’s singles. The US Open was his first ever. In his young career, he has won 14 ATP matches (the ATP World Tour is the tennis equivalent of the IAAF Diamond League – but with FAR more competitors in a FAR less competitive sport, played in FAR less countries, by FAR less people), while losing 29. He has won zero career titles, and has never advanced past the 2nd round at a Major.

For winning a total of one match at this year’s US Open, Daniel won $50,000.

The 4th place finisher won $920,000 – 150 times that won by Gatlin.

Our sport has a problem.”


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4 Comments

  • ANC says:

    There’s plenty of money in track and field- as long as you’re not an athlete. Everybody else earns more than $6000

    • Margaret Crompton says:

      I have officiated at 26 meetings this season, receiving petrol at Police Championships and Civil Sevice Championships. Reason still going out Field Officiating is the pleasure that ordinary Club members get from the competitions. At a medal meeting sat month, counted at least 9 Officials over 70.

  • Robert McGimpsey says:

    One of the main problems with our sport is also one of it’s strengths: there is simply too many “sports”; ie. the jumps, the sprints, hurdles, throws, distances, multi events. In order for prize money to rise; the track and field governing bodies have to market the event groups with sponsors. Also, the number of competitors is very large in all the disciplines. When you go to tennis, that is all they are doing, tennis. when you got to football, that’s all they are doing, when you go to a track meet, you have field events, jumps, throws, pole vault, sprints, hurdles, distance races, it is a mixed bag and very hard to focus on. This problem has existed since the early days of track with “appearance fees” not place winnings and the fact that track was a so-called “amateur” sport with only meet officials and organization officials seeing the real money. Also, unlike other sports the winnings are not publicized enough to the general public and if they are the “winnings” are minuscule, compared to other sports. These problems are fixable but it will take time and “out of the box” thinking to do it.

    • jude massillon says:

      We can rely of scoring tables to make an apples to apples comparison but Chase is the primary sponsor at $15M annually for just the us open our golden league meets are in europe How much did AG pay for the meet sponsorship lets start there but we are also a sports of non disclosure so the bigger question is what is the salary for Andre De Grasse because we don’t put that out It makes it difficult to get more money That used to be the case before curt flood in baseball Only after that did they start making money because there was comparitive analysis

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