The head of cycling's global governing body believes World Athletics' recent decision to award prize money at the Paris Olympics goes against the games' spirit and the solidarity felt among international federations, Reuters reported.

"We really believe that this is not the Olympic spirit," UCI President David Lappartient was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony.

Athletics became the first sport to offer prize money to Olympic champions when Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, announced last week that gold medalists in Paris will each earn $50,000.

The Olympic flag is handed over from Tokyo to Paris during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 8, 2021, at the National Stadium in the Japanese capital, without the attendance of the public due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Kyodo)

"The Olympic spirit is to share revenues and have more athletes compete worldwide," Frenchman Lappartient said. "If we concentrate money on top athletes, a lot of opportunities will disappear for athletes all over the world."

The news agency also quoted Jean-Christophe Rolland, who heads World Rowing, as saying, "I fully respect the WA decision as long it concerns athletes from their sport but at the Olympic Games it is not about your sport but all sports."

"I would appreciate if we had the discussion between us. This decision impacts not only athletes. It has other implications."

Meanwhile, the World Athletics decision has been welcomed by its leading athletes, with the $2.4 million prize pot to be split among the 48 gold medalists in Paris, according to Reuters.

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