André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
IT IS already known that double world-record holder Usain Bolt has pulled the plug on the remainder of his 2010 season due to discomfort in his back, but what might not be common knowledge is that his two meet withdrawals will cost him an estimated J$53 million in lost revenue.
Bolt, who has world records in the 100 metres (9.58s) and 200 metres (19.19s), has pulled out of the cash-rich Diamond League meetings in Zurich and Brussels - both scheduled for later this month - due to the slight pain he felt in his lower back after a rare loss to American rival Tyson Gay in Stockholm, Sweden, last Friday.
It is a decision geared at ensuring that the athlete does not risk hurting himself at these two meets after he was told by German doctor Hans Müller-Wohlfahrt to take a few days off training, a move that would hamper his preparation for Zurich and Brussels and possibly cause a further threat to his fitness.
The 23-year-old Jamaican is easily one of the hottest properties in global athletics, and sports in general. Checks with individuals close to the athlete, as well as industry insiders, reveal he currently commands an appearance fee of approximately US$300,000 (J$26.7 million) for major meets, not taking into account bonuses and endorsement deals.
Bolt was expected to run a relay leg in the Zurich meet before facing off once again with Gay in Brussels, but will now have to shift his attention towards regaining his full health with a view to repeating his sprint double performance from one year ago when he features at next summer's IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea.
Bolt's long-time manager Norman Peart would not speak openly on the figure, offering instead that The Gleaner estimate was "close enough".
Peart labelled the loss a "significant" one and pointed out that the possibility of the sprinter missing a couple of assignments was always a consideration during the management team's budgeting and their general planning for the season.
"It's (the financial loss) definitely a significant sum and, as we know, track and field is an individual sport, so if he doesn't run, then he won't get paid," Peart said. "He is well paid so he will lose that money now but I expect him to make up for that in some way."
Bolt's manager said the team had projected the athlete would miss one or two meets throughout the year, due to the nature of the business, and therefore factored that into the budgeting.
Bolt, who has competed in six high-profile international meets this season, including four Diamond League outings, is estimated to have earned in the region of US$1.8 million (J$153 million) in appearance fees alone this year, excluding bonuses and endorsement benefits.