BOLTA OUT OF THE MONEY BLUES

Ja­maica’s star sprinter is earn­ing a moun­tain of cold hard cash, but most oth­ers are off the pace

CityPress - - Sport - Daniel Mothowagae

Only a hand­ful of track and field ath­letes ap­pear­ing at the on­go­ing In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) World Cham­pi­onships in Bei­jing, China, are earn­ing big bucks.

And Ja­maican ace sprinter Usain Bolt is the only track and field ath­lete who ranks in the top 100 of the world’s high­est-paid ath­letes, ac­cord­ing to Forbes’ latest rich list.

The 29-year-old is rated num­ber 73, with to­tal earn­ings of $21 mil­lion (R271 mil­lion) over the past year.

Bolt does not make much in prize money but cashes in through en­dorse­ments and ap­pear­ance fees. He charges $250 000 to ap­pear at an event.

One would have ex­pected Amer­i­can cham­pion sprint­ers such as Allyson Felix (400m) and Justin Gatlin (100 and 200m) to fol­low Bolt closely, but their earn­ings pale into in­signif­i­cance when com­pared with the fig­ures of world ath­let­ics’ poster boy.

Even Bolt’s coun­try­man and na­tional team-mate Asafa Pow­ell is far off the pace, with earn­ings of $6.5 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

Felix’s net worth is es­ti­mated to be around $8.5 mil­lion, while Gatlin’s stands at a pal­try $1 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2014 sur­vey by Amer­i­can labour union the Track & Field Ath­letes As­so­ci­a­tion and the USA Track and Field Foun­da­tion, more than 50% of the US’s ath­letes ranked in the world’s top 10 earn less than $15 000 from their sport, and there are wide vari­a­tions from event to event.

It is only at top IAAF track and field meet­ings, such as the world cham­pi­onships, where ath­letes are guar­an­teed cash prizes and can mar­ket them­selves in the process.

Each of the cham­pi­ons in the in­di­vid­ual events in Bei­jing will get $60 000 cash, while the re­lay win­ners are set to run away with $80 000.

In ad­di­tion, a $100 000 bonus will be awarded to in­di­vid­u­als or re­lay teams if they set new world records.

PHOTO: LUCY NI­CHOL­SON / REUTERS

IAAF WORLD CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS Prize money 1st: $60 000 (R775 000) 2nd: $30 000 3rd: $20 000 4th: $15 000 5th: $10 000 6th: $6 000 7th: $5 000 8th: $4 000

TOP DOG Usain Bolt of Ja­maica is the world’s lead­ing ath­lete when it comes to earn­ings

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