Usain Bolt Now World’s Best Paid — and Quickest — Athletic Star

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It seems that the love affair between Usain Bolt and his sponsors of nearly ten years Puma just keeps on – ahem – running. The world’s fastest ever man has announced that he has signed the biggest sponsorship deal in athletics history with them.

A source close to the deal has compared the sum to Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo’s four-year contract with Nike, worth $32.5m. Bolt has extended his contract with Puma to 2013, which will certainly bring him financially in line with those star soccer players he loves watching.

The sprinter said he had to turn down interest from rival sports manufacturers in favor of Puma, which has supported him since he was fifteen. “For me Puma is the No. 1 in my book. We’ve been together for years now, they are my family so I don’t want to start with a new family. You want money, but it’s also got to be about the comradeship between you and your company.” Jochen Zeitz, the chairman and chief executive of Puma, believes that the Olympic and world champion could achieve a similar profile to David Beckham.

The 24-year-old Jamaican has always stated that he wants to be a legend in his sport and change its image (hardly a huge claim considering his Olympic Golds and world records, most notably the 9.58 he ran in last year’s 100m World Championships). The company will also launch a new clothing line with the athlete’s signature “To Di World” pose (see picture above).

And who could blame Puma for forking out? What with his appropriate name, age on his side, incredible 6ft 5 physique and ground-breaking victories, Usain Bolt is a marketing dream. (via The Guardian)

– Frances Perraudin

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