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.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'Bring It On' actress says her legal team will combat the 'vultures'
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
News
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
people
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teaching Assistant required in ...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: North Manchester Teaching Assistant...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Nursery Nurses needed in Manchester...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam