I hope I don't have to run from UK taxman for ever, says Bolt

World's two fastest men prepare for season's first showdown after Powell pulls out of Swedish meet

It should have been at the Palace in London next week, but instead Usain Bolt will be putting his crown as the king of the sprint world on the line in the Olympic Stadium here in the Swedish capital tonight. The first meeting of the year between the fastest man on the planet and the next two quickest, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, had been scheduled for the Aviva London Grand Prix – until Bolt and his advisers decided to back out of the meeting at Crystal Palace next Friday and Saturday because of the punitive UK tax laws.

Had the Jamaican raced at the south London track, he would have lost 50 per cent of his appearance fee and prize money to HM Revenue and Customs plus a proportion of his total world-wide annual earnings. If he competed in 10 meetings this year, and just once on British soil, Bolt would be liable to pay tax on a 10th of his global income from all races and endorsements. And that would be a sizeable whack.

The 23-year-old is believed to earn some £3.5m a year in sponsorship deals from Puma, Gatorade and Digicel. His appearance fee is understood to be around £200,000 per event and tonight's DN Galan meeting here, part of the International Association of Athletics Federations' Samsung Diamond League series, will be his sixth engagement on the international circuit this year.

"It's sad," Bolt lamented yesterday, after taking the stage with Gay at the pre-event press conference at a hotel next to the Central Station in Stockholm. "I was supposed to go to London. There's a big Jamaican base there and they look forward to seeing us athletes every year. I hope they work it out for the future."

The immediate future for Bolt is the 100m stretch in Stockholm's 1912 Olympic Stadium tonight. He has been drawn in the second of two heats, due off at 6.20pm British time, in a field that includes Coventry's finest, Marlon Devonish. The final is scheduled for 7.56pm and, sadly, Jamaica's second finest sprinter will not be in it. Powell withdrew from the "big three" contest overnight, citing back and hamstring problems, leaving a straight head-to-head between Bolt and Gay, unless some other speed merchant can manage to get in among the two fastest men in history, that is. The pair have met just twice before in 100m races and on both occasions the world record fell.

At the Reebok Grand Prix in New York in 2008 Bolt prevailed in 9.72sec with Gay second in 9.85sec. At the World Championships in Berlin last August Bolt blitzed home in 9.58sec. Gay took the silver medal in 9.71sec.

At all distances, the score actually stands at 6-4 in favour of the American, Gay having enjoyed the edge over Bolt in their days as 200m rivals, between 2003 and 2007. The Jamaican, however, has not been beaten in a 100m race, other than when easing down in a championship heat, since he lost to Powell in the DN Galan meeting here in the run up to the Beijing Olympics two years ago.

"It's a big race," Bolt said. "In Jamaica, people keep saying, 'You can't let Tyson beat you.' The last time I lost here I was in better shape, so I'll have to be very focused."

Bolt and Gay have been hampered by injury this summer and have yet to get into the high speed stride they hit in that World Championship final in Berlin 12 months ago. "I think this season I have slacked off a little bit," Bolt confessed.

"Maybe that's why I got injured," he added. "I was not really focused because my coach said this was kind of going to be my off season, so I wasn't stressing."

Not that Bolt is ever stressing, even in World Championship or Olympic seasons. Asked about the long-term future yesterday, he said the Rio Olympics in 2016 would bring down the curtain on his career. And after that? "I'm going to get myself an office," Bolt mused, "an empty space with a big chair, a table, and a big screen television. And then I'm going to put my feet up."

Bolt v Gay: A world record rivalry

2007 World Championships, Osaka Tyson Gay took the 200m final in 19.76sec in their first meeting, eclipsing Usain Bolt who came second in 19.91. Later at the same Championships Gay was part of the American quartet that won the 4x100m relay in 37.38, with Bolt's Jamaican team coming in second.

2009 World Championships, Berlin Bolt triumphed brilliantly in the 100m final with a world record 9.58 in the Olympic Stadium as Gay sealed silver with 9.71. Bolt bagged another gold, and another world record, in the 200m final with a time of 19.19, after Gay withdrew. Bolt's third gold came in the 4x100m relay as Jamaica ran 37.31.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?