Aussie billionaire's staggering act for Olympic Games medallists
Australia's Olympic medallists will receive an additional $5000 payment in addition to existing medal bonuses after billionaire Harry Triguboff pledged to donate $645,000.
Triguboff, the founder of the Meriton hotel chain, pledged the money on Thursday afternoon, with his unsolicited donation welcomed by the Australian Olympic Committee.
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The display of generosity came on the same day the Federal government announced additional funding to pay Paralympic athletes equal bonuses for winning medals.
The 88-year-old said he had been motivated to make the donation in light of the significant disruption to the athletes preparation and finances due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that the athletes had provided a much-needed boost to morale with New South Wales and Victoria dealing with lockdowns during the Games.
The donation is in addition to the $20,000 for gold medallists, as well as $15,000 and $10,000 paid to silver and bronze medallists.
“We are always successful at the Olympic Games. However, this time it was especially important because we are close to recession and many people have been impacted by the virus,” Triguboff said.
“The medallists in Tokyo made us all very happy and we were glued to the television and were only thinking of our athletes during this difficult time.”
AOC chairman John Coates thanked the hotel magnate for his contribution on Thursday afternoon.
“Harry is hugely proud of what our Team achieved in Tokyo, and for him to say thank you in this way is hugely generous and most unexpected,” he said.
“The donation is per medal, so for those Olympians whose efforts were rewarded with multiple medals, it will make coming home to family and friends all the sweeter.
“On behalf of the AOC, and in particular our 99 medals winners, we say thank you, Harry.”
Aussie Olympians poised for huge bonus after generous donation
Members of Australia's highly successful swim team stand to benefit the most from Triguboff's generosity.
After becoming the second woman in history to win seven medals at one Olympics, Emma McKeon is poised for a useful $35,000 windfall.
Teammates Ariane Titmus and Kaylee McKeown are also set to earn a handy bonus for their efforts.
The donation was made on the same day the Federal government announced extra funding for Paralympics Australia to pay Paralympic athletes medal bonuses in line with their Olympic counterparts.
Sports fans have been calling for Paralympians to receive the payments in line with Olympic athletes after an SBS report revealed they did not, nor had ever received the performance bonus.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday afternoon in Parliament that Paralympic athletes who win medals from the Tokyo Games onwards will be paid $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze in line with Olympic athletes.
The extra funding was welcomed by wheelchair tennis superstar Dylan Alcott.
"How cool is this news. It's because of all of you backing the Paralympic Games and making some noise to make this change happen," Alcott tweeted.
"We appreciate the support of the Australian public so much, and hope the last week has put some smiles on some faces back home!"
Alcott has won a quad doubles silver medal in tennis with Heath Davdison at the Tokyo Games and will play for his second-straight quad singles title on Saturday.
He is a three-time Paralympic gold medallist in tennis and wheelchair basketball.
"Australia's para-athletes have represented our nation with great distinction and pride in Tokyo, delivering performances that have buoyed millions during what is a difficult time for the nation," the government said in a statement announcing the funding.
The government added it will work with Paralympics Australia and other sporting bodies to increase corporate backing for para-sports.
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