Paralympians now paid the same amount as Olympians for winning medals

The Tokyo Olympics mark the first Olympic Games in which Paralympic medalists will earn the same pay as their Olympic counterparts.

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced the change after the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Though 2018 Paralympic athletes who won medals received retroactive pay increases following the decision, the Tokyo Games will be the first Olympics to implement the pay parity from the get-go.

Athletes will now receive $37,500 for each gold medal earned at the Paralympics, $22,500 for silver, and $15,000 for bronze, boosting compensation for some Paralympians by as much as 400%, according to the International Paralympic Committee. Previously, Paralympic athletes had received $7,500 for every gold medal, $5,250 for silver, and $3,750 for bronze, The New York Times reported.

More than $1.2 million was disbursed to the 2018 Paralympic medalists following the committee’s decision. As the Tokyo Games entered its fourth day, the U.S. honored the 31st anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.

While Paralympians and their supporters celebrated pay equality, many pushed back against the USOPC’s decision not to allow Becca Meyers ― a U.S. swimmer and six-time Paralympic medalist ― to bring her mother to the Tokyo Games as her care assistant. Meyers, who is deaf and blind, said the committee had approved her mother to be her PCA since 2017, but due to COVID-19, there are now “limits of non-essential staff in place.” She added: “Rightfully so, but a trusted PCA is essential for me to compete.”



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