Bolt to pocket £500,000 for two days in London
Published 29/03/2013 | 05:00
Usain Bolt, the world's most iconic athlete, will return to the scene of his triple Olympic glory last summer after agreeing a deal to compete in two events at the London Anniversary Games in the Olympic stadium in July.
The Jamaican sprinter has signed a contract to compete on both days of the main Diamond League competition on July 26 and 27, ensuring that as many ticket-holders as possible get the opportunity to see him compete.
He will be one of a host of Olympic champions who will be in action before many of the stars of the London 2012 Paralympics take the stage on July 28 for a day of disability events.
Details of which two events Bolt will be contesting are being kept secret until a formal announcement is made, though it is probable he will compete in one individual sprint race plus the 4x100m relay. Taking part in both the 100m and 200m on consecutive days would be too onerous just a fortnight before the start of the World Championships in Moscow.
The meeting will be the first time Bolt has raced on British soil since 2009 other than at the Olympics.
He had previously avoided UK meets on the grounds that the government's tax regulations for foreign sports stars meant it would actually cost him money to compete, because he would be liable for tax on his multi-million-pound endorsement earnings.
His change of heart follows the decision to grant a 'one-off' tax exemption for overseas athletes taking part in the London meeting to ensure an all-star cast for the anniversary celebrations.
Bolt will earn an estimated £500,000 for his appearance, plus any prize money, without paying a penny of tax to the Treasury.
Because the tax exemption was granted for all overseas stars and not just Bolt, UK Athletics has enjoyed unprecedented bargaining power to assemble a glittering line-up of track and field talent for what promises to be a spectacular reprise of London 2012. No other Diamond League meeting will come close to matching it this summer in terms of star quality.
It is understood that competing alongside Bolt will be his training partner, world 100m champion Yohan Blake, though there will be no repeat of their epic Olympic 100m and 200m showdowns. The two Jamaicans will be continuing their policy of not racing against each other outside the major championships and Jamaican trials and will be contesting separate sprint events in London.
Although athletes are still in the process of being signed up, it is understood that Kenya's Olympic 800m gold medallist, David Rudisha, will be back on the track where he set his stunning world record last year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)