POSTED: August 25th 2010

Bolt accelerates away on the sponsor front with record $15m contract extension

Usain Bolt in triumph in Beijing /
Usain Bolt in triumph in Beijing /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, Aug 25: Olympic champion Usain Bolt has become "the best paid athlete in track and field history" after extending until beyond the next Olympic Games his personal contract with German sportswear company Puma.

The world record-holder at both 100m and 200m - titles he is early favourite to return in London in 2012 - is contracted to the company until the following year which would mark a decade-long sponsorship.

The new deal is reportedly worth €15m though it still leaves Bolt's income significantly short of the sponsor revenue values of the likes of footballers Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Puma refused to talk figures but chairperson Jochen Zeitz said: "Usain Bolt is an iconic global sports star and he is being remunerated as such."

Bolt, 24, exploded to world superstar status in 2008 in Beijing when he won not only the two sprints in world record times but collected another gold medal and world record for his native Jamaica in the 4x100m relay. A year later, he improved on his double sprint world records at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, was critical of Bolt's sportsmanship in Beijing - in his pre-finish celebration in the 100m and his lack of communication with his beaten rivals in the 200m before he set off on a victory lap of honour. It was notable in Berlin that Bolt restrained his celebratory antics.

Keywords · Bolt · Puma · sponsor · IOC

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