If you read the title of this article with great confusion, you're not alone.
The Australian Olympic Committee has announced their official list of medal incentive recipients for the 2020 Tokyo Games, and skateboarder Shane O'Neill was listed among the swimmers, runners, pole-vaulters and gymnasts who made the cut. In what is most certainly a first in the world of skateboarding, the AOC granted Shane a $20,000 bonus in the hope that it will, presumably, incentivise him to compete for gold in Tokyo.
Welcome to skateboarding in 2016. Please, take a seat and grab the
popcorn Monster Energy Drink™.
Shane's recent victory in the SLS World Championship means that he's officially considered a "high chance" to take home a medal by the AOC, and was thus eligible for the incentive payment. Recent women's world surfing champion Tyler Wright was also given a $20k payday, among a list of Aussie athletes that included the women's rugby sevens team, world-class rowers and at least one archery enthusiast. O'Neill and Wright both received the maximum individual payment available under the scheme.
The AOC makes clear the requirements to be considered for the full $20,000 incentive bonus. In short:
In order for athletes to be considered for AOC Medal Incentive Funding they must maintain appropriate training regimes with the intention of gaining 2020 Olympic selection in the year subsequent to them winning a medal.
From what we can gather, both Shane and Tyler are considered to have won gold medals in their sports by winning the most recent SLS and WSL titles respectively, since skateboarding and surfing haven't featured in the Olympic Games yet.
Hilariously the athletes won't be paid until sometime in 2017, once they've proven they're engaged in "appropriate training regimes". We're not sure exactly how this works, but we envision it will involve some sort of AOC representative camped out at O'Neill's backyard skatepark, notebook in hand, jotting down the progress on Shane's latest fandangled flatbar move while keeping tabs on his diet and gym routine.
It's going to be a funny four years.
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