World Athletics Ultimate Championship: A “Game Changer” For Track & Field - The Running Channel Advertisement

World Athletics Ultimate Championship: A “Game Changer” For Track & Field

BY: Mark Dredge
03 June 2024

World Athletics has announced a new global championship, a Super Bowl for track and field, with US$10m in total prize money available. The first Ultimate Championship will take place in Budapest in September 2026, and will be held every two years. 

In their announcement on 3 June 2024, World Athletics explained that this is “set to transform the athletics calendar and define which athlete is the best of the best – pitting world champions, Olympic champions, the Wanda Diamond League winners and the year’s best performing athletes against each other, to crown the ultimate champion.”

The format will feature 8-16 of the top-ranked athletes in each event, who will represent their national teams, with almost 400 athletes from around 70 countries taking part overall. 

With US$10m of prize money, and US$150,000 for every gold medallist, the World Athletics Ultimate Championship will be the richest event in track and field history, with every athlete rewarded financially for competing. 

The aim is to increase the excitement around track and field by updating the traditional format of these meets, and reach a bigger audience, especially with younger fans. The Ultimate Championship will be optimised for a large global television audience, with new innovations to improve the viewing experience in the stadium and at home. With all the action set across three days, with an action-packed three-hour evening sessions each day, moving quickly between event around the track and on the field, World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon explained that: “We truly believe this will be a game changer for our entire sport.”

This announcement is a further commitment of World Athletics to pay its athletes more, and follows news that World Athletics is introducing its own prize money to gold medallists at the Paris 2024 Olympics, where winners in each of the 48 events will receive US$50,000, and with prize money extending to all podium places from Los Angeles 2028.

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