The United States Olympic Committee board of directors voted today to increase Operation Gold Awards for Paralympic athletes by as much as 400 percent, with Paralympians and Olympians now able to earn equal payouts from medal performances including the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
“Paralympians are an integral part of our athlete community and we need to ensure we’re appropriately rewarding their accomplishments,” said USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “Our financial investment in U.S. 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. I’m thrilled that we’ve brought parity and equality to our Operation Gold program and we're eager to continue to build on Team USA’s success in PyeongChang.”
Operation Gold provides monetary rewards to athletes who earn medals at Paralympic and Olympic Games.
“The board has been discussing this change for several months and following consultation with Paralympic athletes, the Paralympic Advisory Council and an endorsement from the Athletes Advisory Council, I’m really glad we were able to take this important step,” said Cheri Blauwet, USOC board member.
Paralympic athletes will now receive $37,500 for each gold medal earned at the Paralympic Games, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze.
The U.S. Paralympic Team won 36 medals and topped the medal table at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and the increased payments will be made retroactively for all medals won in 2018. This retroactive increase will place more than $1.2 million in the hands of 2018 Paralympic medalists.