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SBD Global/November 18, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Usain Bolt Claims Jamaican Doping Issues Cost Him Sponsorship Dollars

Usain Bolt said on Saturday that "controversy over Jamaica's anti-doping program is scaring off potential sponsors and costing him money," according to Clare Fallon of REUTERS. Bolt: "There is a lot going on with this drug thing that I really feel they need to be clear (about) and clarify because now it is causing problems for me when it comes to making money in my sport." World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey had suggested the Caribbean nation "could face severe penalties" if the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) was "declared non-compliant." Only WADA code-compliant sports can participate in the Olympic Games. Bolt's manager, Ricky Simms, said that rumors suggesting Bolt might not be at the 2016 Rio Olympics "had upset the sprinter and put off a potential sponsor." Simms said, "I think what he was disturbed about was... the misinformation that was out there. It's a potential new sponsorship. They asked the question 'Are you going to be in the Olympics?' They don't want to sponsor him and then he is not in the Olympics" (REUTERS, 11/16).

THE FALLOUT: In London, Simon Hart reported the threat of Jamaica being expelled from the Olympics "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." Bolt: "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" (TELEGRAPH, 11/16). In London, Sean Ingle reported IAAF President Lamine Diack used the awards presentation "to criticise WADA for mounting what he called a 'ridiculous campaign' against Jamaica and Kenya." Diack said, "It was like a campaign, with WADA trying to make a statement. It was ridiculous. They went to Jamaica and what did they find? Nothing. We have to be clear on that" (GUARDIAN, 11/16).
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