An Olympics competitor sprints to the front

In track and field, nothing inspires elite athletes more than the chance at eternal glory… though $150,000 could prove even more inspiring.

Driving the news: World Athletics, the global track and field body, plans to launch a new global athletics competition in 2026 called the Ultimate Championships. It will pay medallists money from a US$10 million pot, with gold medallists raking in a record prize of $150,000.

  • Earlier this year, World Athletics announced that track and field will be the first Olympic sport to pay prize money to gold medallists at this year’s games.

Why it matters: The Ultimate Championships will run every two years, meaning they will inevitably go head-to-head with the Summer Olympics. With a focus on improving athletes' financial positions and brands, it could become an attractive alternative to Olympic renown.

  • Other new Olympic competitors include Russia’s Friendship Games and the Peter Thiel-backed Enhanced Games, in which athletes will be able to take any drugs they please.

Big picture: The Olympics could also be growing less attractive for sponsors. Last week, Toyota cancelled its Olympic sponsorship deal, the largest such deal in history, because it felt the Olympics didn’t spend enough on supporting athletes and promoting sports.—QH