The 2021 USA Paralympic team heads to Tokyo for the Summer Games knowing that medal winners will receive the same money as their Olympic counterparts for the first time ever.
Previously, para-athletes won $7,500 for each gold medal, $5,250 for silver, and $3,750 for bronze. Their counterparts received $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver, and $15,000 for bronze. That’s a 400 percent increase for the Paralympic medal winners.
The cost of competing is high for Paralympians. According to The Washington Post, a carbon-frame racing chair can cost $25,000, and that doesn’t include wheels and tires. The price of a prosthetic leg used in competition can be $20,000.
Three-time gold-winning Paralympic swimmer McKenzie Coan told the Post that equal pay “sends a message of equality and optimism to all with disabilities.”
The Paralympic Summer Games take place from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5, so there’s still time to track down competitors from your community for interviews about their challenging journey to Tokyo and this year’s financial recognition of their athletic abilities.
By Susan LoTempio, board member, National Center on Disability and Journalism
Contact @susanlotempio or via email at email@example.com