Usain Bolt loses big-money sponsorship deal because of Jamaica's doping controversy
Usain Bolt has called for an end to the misinformation and false claims about Jamaica’s doping problems after revealing that he had lost a big-money sponsorship deal because of the controversy.
The triple world and Olympic champion said a would-be sponsor, whom he refused to name, had recently pulled the plug on an endorsement deal after reading inaccurate media reports that he would be ineligible for the Rio Olympics.
The reports stemmed from comments made by John Fahey, the outgoing president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, that Jamaica could be ruled non-compliant with the WADA code because of failings in the country’s anti-doping programme, which could lead to its expulsion from the Olympic Games.
The threat of that has since receded after Jamaica agreed to work with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to improve its anti-doping procedures, but Bolt said he was still suffering from the fall-out.
“A sponsor came up to us and was saying, ‘We’d like to sponsor you’. They then used an agency that does background checks to figure out if it’s viable to sponsor you and it came back that WADA had said that I would not be eligible to run at the next Olympics.
“That information is not correct, so there are a lot of things that are going on with this drugs thing that I really feel they need to clarify because, for me, it’s causing problems for me when it comes to making money from my sport.
“We really need to get this out of the way and move past this, get the rules down, get everything straight and get it down fast because we need to move on.
“In every sport there are drug scandals and problems but people get it done and move past it. That’s what we have to do because it’s really costing me money now, and I’m not too happy about that.”
Bolt was backed by Lamine Diack, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, who accused WADA of waging a campaign against countries like Jamaica and Kenya with their public criticisms and of behaving in a “ridiculous” manner.
After weeks of negative headlines, Jamaica had something to celebrate on Saturday night when Bolt and compatriot Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce were crowned World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF’s annual gala in Monte Carlo.
Mo Farah narrowly missed out on the top award after making the three-man shortlist, though his American coach, Alberto Salazar, was named Coach of the Year.