IAAF Ericsson Golden League Jackpot adds spice to Grand Prix Final
4 September 1998
Moscow - The refurbished Olympic Stadium in Moscow plays host tomorrow to the IAAF Golden League Grand Prix Final - the climax of a Grand Prix season that began in Australia in February and has since criss-crossed the world.
The 1998 Grand Prix season has also seen the successful introduction of the IAAF Golden League - comprising meetings in Oslo, Rome, Monaco, Brussels and Berlin - before the Final in Moscow. The innovation of this circuit within a circuit has been the IAAF Ericsson Golden League Jackpot - a cool million dollars offered to those able to maintain a win streak through all six meetings.
Four track athletes remain in the contest and could leave the Russian capital this weekend richer by at least a quarter of a million dollars - Marion Jones (USA), Bryan Bronson (USA), Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) and Haile Gebrselassie (ETH). Among these only the 400m hurdler Bronson - who beat World Champion Stephane Diagana by just 1 hundredth of a second in Berlin earlier this week looks vulnerable. 100m runner Jones, 1500m specialist El Guerrouj and distance ace Gebrselassie have all been unbeaten this season - a class ahead of their rivals. Jones in particular, who has won 31 different events in 1998 (including long jump and 200m), has stamped her mark on the season and is beginning to be heralded as the American attraction of track and field - ahead of men like Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene.
But the GL GP Final also contains a tremendous number of world class athletes still in contention for individual and overall Grand Prix awards. Cash awards for the individual GP events (decided solely on results in Moscow) are: $50,000, 30,000, 20,000, 10,000, 8,000, 7,000, 6,000 and 5,000 depending on place. The awards for the Overall title (based on accumulated points over the whole season) are: $200,000, 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 15,000, 13,000, 12,000, 10,000.
Any athlete who breaks a world record in the Final will also be awarded a bonus of $100,000. Theoretically, if current Mens Overall Grand Prix leader Hicham El Guerrouj wins his event in world record time in Moscow - and his three Jackpot rivals lose - he will be awarded a total of $1.35 million. Without doubt, the greatest single pay day in the history of athletics. Appropriately enough in this ear of Women in Athletics", the same could apply to Marion Jones who currently leads the Womens Overall contest.