Usain Bolt still making headlines post Olympics, refuses to compete in UK

Published On August 14, 2012 | By Jill Saftel

The London Games might have ended Sunday, but Jamaican sprinter and decided “fastest man on earth” Usain Bolt is still finding ways to make headlines. He has now refused to compete in the UK until the country changes its tax laws, according to The Telegraph.

Bolt is objecting to a law that would have him taxed on global sponsorship and endorsement earnings as well as any appearance fee when he competes in Britain. In addition, those taxes would be levied at the 50pc higher earning rate. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) would stand to take in revenue not only on Bolt’s winnings in the UK, but also his sponsorship deals including his nearly $20 million deal with Puma.

Prior to the 2012 Olympics, Bolt had not raced in the UK for three years and only agreed to compete in London once the HMRC decided to grant tax amnesty for all Olympic competitors.

While Bolt is known for creating buzz, he’s not the first athlete to avoid UK competition because of their hefty taxation laws. Tennis star Rafael Nadal pulled out of the 2012 Aegon Championship at Queen’s Club due to the UK’s tax demand and opted instead to compete in the Gerry Weber Open at Halle in Germany.

Bolt has a flare for the dramatics, calling himself a legend, silencing audiences as he crosses the finish line, and preparing for races by downing chicken nuggets. It is now rumored that a sponsorship deal could be in the works in which Bolt could receive free chicken nuggets for life, convenient considering the sprinter ate 15 McDonald’s chicken nuggets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while in Beijing.

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About The Author

Jill studies journalism at Northeastern University, covers Hockey East for College Hockey News and is the sports editor for The Huntington News. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillsaftel, just don't ask her to choose between hockey and baseball, it's impossible.