Promo work won't slow down Bolt
- Publicist says star sprinter's obligations willnot affect World Champs preparation
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
DAEGU, South Korea:
Carole Beckford, publicist for World and Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, does not believe that the athlete's sponsor-related promotional obligations will affect his focus and performances in Daegu, South Korea, where he is getting ready to defend his titles in the coming days.
Bolt, who holds world records in both events, has been involved in a number of promotional activities since his arrival in the Asian city ahead of the August 27 to September 4 Championships, with sponsors such as sports/lifestyle goods manufactures Puma and luxury watch designers Hublot all taking advantage of their ambassador's global appeal, since his arrival here.
Beckford, however, maintains that the athlete's preparation and focus is never a matter for compromise and that he has ample time to get ready for his competition.
Bolt is expected to feature on the championship's opening day in the 100m heats, with the final set for the following day.
"August 20 was the last of the sponsor-arranged activities. He had one full week left and has been in Daegu for a few days. Usain took a quick trip to downtown Daegu Saturday to present prizes at the Puma FAAS event and cut the ribbon at the new Hublot boutique," Beckford said. "In the same shopping mall the world's fastest man was the special guest at the opening of Swiss watch company Hublot's new boutique in Daegu."
What about missed training session?
"Bolt and the Jamaican team have been training in Daegu in preparation for the forthcoming Championships. Ricky Simms, his agent and Glen Mills, coach, are in Daegu with him, so his time is managed effectively," Beckford reasoned.
"Usain is used to the demand on his time. However, he depends on his team to ensure that his schedule is planned properly and it is done in conjunction with all members of the team to make sure there are no clashes of events," Beckford added.
Beckford went on to underline that given the athlete's status on the global athletic and wider sporting landscape, commercial activities such as public appearances and so forth have become part and parcel of his existence, a situation, she pointed out, that Bolt himself was more than comfortable with.
She did, however, admit that it can become a challenge to find the perfect balance so as to ensure that the athlete's performances are not affected.
Balancing his time
"Usain has managed to build his brand to offer diversity and, as a result, his schedule is important in balancing his time," said Beckford. "The management team gets tons of requests and we have an annual calendar that we have set dates, community activities for his foundation and charity, overseas travel, competition and marketing and/or media related activities.
"It does get tedious, but the team works around the set dates with proper notice. This process is never easy, but we work to make it effective and efficient," Beckford added.
"Bothered may be a strong term," Beckford responded when quizzed about the athlete's genuine outlook on his commercial obligations. "As he grows and matures as a brand, he is well aware of what he is required to do to maintain and improve his image."
Bolt's major sponsors are Puma, Digicel, Gatorade and Hublot.