The pay debate regarding the different pay packets for men and women runs deep across the world of sport. But the recent announcement of equal pay for men and women in the prestigious Koppenbergcross cyclocross event could be a sign there is change on the horizon. This is after all the first time elite men and women will receive equal prize money on European soil.
In recent years, Great Britain’s female athletes have put forward a convincing argument in the prize money debate. Most recently at the Track Cycling World Championships in Colombia we saw the ladies walk away with 100% of Great Britain’s total medal haul for the event. In Sochi, a similar theme reigned, the ladies won three of four British medals.
Perhaps the most poignant of all was Lizzie Armistead’s fight to grab Silver at the Games 2012, coming second to riding legend Marianne Vos. A performance that was every inch as exciting to watch as any men’s event out there.
In a recent interview with Podium Café , current Koppenbergcross champion, Helen Wyman gave an interesting insight into why the recent decision to provide equality between male and female riders means so much.
“This is more than just money, this is HUGE, this really is something special. I know in the USA they have had equal prize money at races for years now but Europe have never taken the initiative before,” said Wyman.
It is not mega amounts of money in question – the winning prize has gone up from €350 to €1,667 for first place. But it is the principal and the impact it will hopefully have across women’s cycling in Europe. It is hoped it will reward young talent making participation more worthwhile while also bringing further visibility to the sport.
With regard to this particular race, American company Twenty 20 Cycling are the sponsor. This shows how significant the race is around the world and why it is a fantastic step towards equality for women on the racing scene that will hopefully set an important example for other events.