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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Senior Application Support -Fidessa, Charles River, Oracle, FIX

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Application Support - Fide...

Product Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Product Specialist - (Application...

Technical Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Specialist - (Applicati...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home