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SBD Global/August 7, 2012/Olympics

Bolt's Gold Means More Sponsors, Compliments From Coe, Parties In Kingston

Usain Bolt kisses his Gold Medal Monday, one day after winning the 100m dash.
Usain Bolt is "set to race ahead of many of his fellow Olympians with new endorsement deals," after securing his position as the world's fastest man with back-to-back Gold Medals, according to Glenda Kwek of the BRISBANE TIMES. Australian celebrity agent Max Markson said, "That 10 seconds is worth $2M a second, for the next 12 months easy." Outside of basketball and tennis, the 25-year-old is already the highest-paid Olympian at the London Games. Forbes estimates his earnings over the past year at $20.3M. Bolt's biggest sponsor, Puma, pays $9M annually. Research company Sweeney Sports and Entertainment GM Chris Styring said, "Generally speaking, the larger the audience and bigger appeal an athlete commands, the higher their commercial value and size of the endorsement deals they should expect to net." Markson said that despite the Olympics' global appeal, it "does not necessarily give its athletes the same worldwide recognition as professional sports" such as basketball, tennis and golf (BRISBANE TIMES, 8/6). FORBES' Patrick Rishe wrote that if Bolt had not retained his title as "World's Fastest Man," and had he not earned a medal in any of his three events, "he would have seen his earnings potential drop precipitously over the next few years." His current sponsors would have been "less likely to retain his services, and if they had, for lesser amounts." With Sunday's victory, however, Bolt "has assured himself a continued steady stream of product endorsements that should extend" until the '16 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. There is an "it factor, a sex appeal if you will, to being labeled the fastest man alive." It resonates with endorser dimensions like speed, strength, stamina, sleekness and style. These dimensions are characteristics that companies typically "wish to have aligned with their products in the constant game of subliminal messaging used in commercials to entice consumers to buy products" (FORBES, 8/5).

WINNING PRAISE: In London, Owen Gibson cited LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe saying Bolt's victory in a new Olympic record time was "never in doubt," complementing his ability to "close the deal." Coe said that Bolt possessed an "unerring ability to deliver when the pressure was at its most intense." Coe: "Whatever you say about the gestures and the cabaret, the guy knows how to close the deal. That is the essential and crucial asset in these championships. I never thought he would lose last night. The difference between winning and losing is the way you control yourself for the last 40 minutes, and he does that to perfection" (GUARDIAN, 8/6).

CITY OF GOLD: Also in London, Kwesi Mugisa wrote on the eve of celebrating Jamaica's 50th year of independence, a historic one-two by Bolt and his countryman and training partner Yohan Blake was "more than enough reason" to send spectators who marched to the city centre of Kingston into a "joyous frenzy." Celebrations included blaring plastic horns, banging pot covers and motorists honking their horns, who were "oblivious to the fact that everything in the usually busy thoroughfare had ground to a halt." Some went as far as to compare Bolt's accomplishments with those of another "popular Jamaican icon." Kingston local Damion Brown said following the final, "Usain take over from Bob Marley. It was Bob that was Jamaica hero. Now is Usain" (GUARDIAN, 8/6).

THE DRAWBACK: Bolt said that his normal routine had been "disrupted by the myriad rules" imposed by organisers of the London Games. Bolt: "There are a lot of rules, oh my God. You can't do anything. I was coming and wanted to bring my tablets in, and they said I couldn't. I asked why. It is just a rule. I had my skipping rope in my bag, and they said I can't bring it in. Why? It is just a rule." Bolt said that he hoped to defend his title in Rio. Bolt: "I'll be 30, but I hope I'll be there. This Gold means I am one step closer to being a legend, so I'm working toward that" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/6).
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