Usain Bolt will become the "best paid athlete in track and field history" after agreeing an extension to his deal with Puma that ties him to the company beyond the London Olympics. The world's fastest man is set to earn more than £10m over three years, a deal that equates to what Cristiano Ronaldo is paid by Nike.
Bolt, the world record holder at 100m and 200m, will be the stellar attraction in 2012 and has chosen to remain with the German company who have backed him since he was 16. "I'm very happy with the figure," said Bolt, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday. It represents a sizeable increase on the £1m a year he had been earning and propels him above Yelena Isinbayeva, the Russian pole vaulter estimated to have been the previously best paid athlete. But while his deal may be on a par with Ronaldo's, top footballers still earn considerably more overall, while Tiger Woods, for all his problems, has an annual income of around £13m from his deal with Nike alone.
Bolt ended his season after defeat by Tyson Gay in Stockholm earlier this month, citing a back injury, and is now "chilling" in Jamaica. "He's an iconic global sports star and as such he's now renumerated," said Jochen Zeita, Puma's chairman.