Isn't it a coincidence that the world's fastest man has Bolt as his surname? Bolt, as in lightning bolt. That's how fast Usain Bolt is. That's also his nickname.
Fastest Man in The Planet
Dubbed as the fastest man in the planet, Usain Bolt is the first man in athletics to hold both the 100m and 200m world records in fully automatic time history. He is also part of the team that holds the world record in the men's 4 X 100 relay. Bolt won the 100, 200 and the 4 X 100 relay in an unprecedented three consecutive Olympic Games from 2008-2016. However, one of his relay medals was stripped after a teammate failed a drug test. Despite that, his official gold haul of 8 makes him the greatest Olympic sprinter of all-time.
Bolt also dominated in the World Championships. As an 11 time world champion, Bolt is the most successful athlete in the history of the World Championships. He is the first man to win the 100m and 200m competition three times.
He set the current 100m world record of 9.58 sec in 2009, besting his own previous mark of 9.69. He's also broken the 200m record twice, clocking at 19.30 sec in 2008 and besting it with a 19.19 in 2009. He's also led Jamaica to three world records at the 4 X 100, including the current one of 36.84 seconds set in 2012.
His achievements include the IAAF World Athlete of the Year 6 times, Laureaus World Sportsman of the Year 4 times and Jamaica Sportsman of the Year 5 times.
Born in Sherwood Content, Trealawny, Jamaica, Usain bolt grew up with his parents Wellesley and Jennifer, brother Sadiki and sister Sherine. The Bolts ran a grocery in the local area while young Usain played cricket and football. By the time he was 12, Bolt was the fastest 100m sprinter in his school. Bolt continued to play cricket in high school but was encouraged by his coach to focus on athletics instead. At first, Bolt showed lack of dedication but he eventually got his focus and got his feet on the right track.
Bolt’s first appearance on the world stage was during the 2001 IAAF World Youth Championships in Hungary. He ran his favorite 200m event but failed to advance to the finals. A year later, he posted his first big victory at the 2002 World Junior Championships before an adoring nation in Jamaica. Bolt won the 200m race and became the youngest to do so at age 15. He also bagged two silvers as part of the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. And so Lightning Bolt was born and the medals soon followed.
Usain Bolt's endorsements did come as fast as his world record times. Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he only had two sponsors. Outfitter and shoe company Puma has been with him since his his junior days. His other sponsor back then was Jamaican mobile phone company Digicel. Things have changed now. Bolt is flooded with sponsors that he needs a team to manage his brand.
In his website, Usain Bolt discloses four names who help him manage his finances and expand his brand. Former track and field athlete Norman Peart was his first manager. Peart’s current title in Team Bolt is business manager. Best friend and former classmate Nugent Walker has been Bolt’s confidant since 2010. He is now Executive manager of Team Bolt. Marketing expert Gina Ford takes care of Bolt’s endorsements and sponsors while Ricky Simms, President of Pace Sports Management, takes care of Usain’s schedule. He’s done so since 2003. With his finances well taken cared of, Bolt can just focus on running on the tracks. And that’s perhaps why he’s been successful all these years.
Bolt's latest contract with Puma was signed in 2013 and paid him $10M per annum until 2016. He would get an 'extra' $10M if he competed in the 2017 world championships in London and $4M per annum if he remained as Puma ambassador after retirement. Bolt has openly declared that the 2017 World Championships would be his last event. Now we know why. Who would walk away from an extra $10M? Prior to this contract, Puma was already paying Bolt $9M per year since 2010.
After his success in Beijing, companies like Gatorade, Hublot, Virgin Media and Visa were quick on the draw to sign him to their fold. Gatorade Bolt was born and his face and name were used in Visa ads in Europe. Bolt is even a character in the popular mobile game Temple Run, which has over a billion downloads worldwide. Some deals, like Visa, came and went. But as he has dominated the tracks, more have come.
Forbes estimates that Usain Bolt has 10 global sponsors, led by Puma. Aside from those, he has 7 regional benefactors. Without breaking down each one, Forbes says he made a total of $33M in 2016. The amount pales in comparison to the earnings of Say Cristiano Ronaldo or Tiger Woods. But when you factor in that Bolt makes ten times more than the next highest earning track star, that's incredible.
Usain Bolt may have gone so far ahead of the competition but he has never forgotten to look back. He also gives back to the community that made him who he is today. Bolt regularly donates sports equipment to the Thorpe William Knibb Memorial High School in Jamaica which he attended during his younger years. In 2015, he donated $1.3M and more equipment to the same school. Bolt is known for his hard partying but he also gives back to the community. The sprinter donated $4M to renovate a local health center in his native Sherwood Content, Jamaica in 2013.
In 2014, Forbes listed Usain Bolt as the #45th highest paid athlete of 2014. According to the report, Bolt earned $200K in prize money and a whopping $23M in endorsements/ advertisement deals. A year later, he slipped to #73 in the same list but still walked away with a cool $21M for 2015. Bolt’s prize money for 2015 was only $15,000 as he ran only two 100m and three 200m races before competing in the 2015 Beijing World Championships. It was also in 2015 when he announced that the 2017 World Championships would be his last event.
Factoring all his income sources, industry experts estimate that Usain Bolt’s current net worth is around $60M. But that is expected to balloon in 2017, considering this could be his farewell season in the sport.
2016 was an Olympic year so it was but expected that Usain Bolt would not only haul gold inside the track but also off it. At the start of the year, he signed with Japan’s Nippon Airways and then added Australian telecom Optus to his list of benefactors. He then inked a deal with Enertor to be the face of their insole brand and received an equity stake in the business. A week before the Olympics started, Bolt launched his own shaving company Champion Shave, selling 6-blade razors at discounted prices. Bolt also has an online store called Usain Bolt Official Store where he sells sporting goods and Usain Bolt branded items.
Bolt earned a personal best $32.5M in 2016, putting him at #32 in the Forbes list of Top earning athletes of last year. According to the Forbes report, Bolt is in a class by himself in athletics because instead of competing with his fellow track stars, his marketing prowess competes with the likes of LeBron James of the NBA and European soccer superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
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