Usain Bolt asks Jamaica to no longer be paid hourly after working just 9.81 seconds at Olympics
RIO DE JANEIRO — Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won his third consecutive gold medal in the 100m on Sunday night in Rio, but he has not become especially wealthy off of his Olympic successes. The world’s fastest man is paid $55/hour by Team Jamaica, but is only credited with the time he puts in on the track in competition. For the 100m final, which he won in 9.81 seconds, Bolt earned only 15 cents.
“As an hourly rate goes, it’s actually well above the average pay-per-hour in Jamaica,” said the sprinter. “I appreciate that and I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but that pay structure just doesn’t really work out for this particular profession.”
Team Jamaica representatives pointed out to Bolt that he also will be paid for the 100m semis on Sunday night, putting his gross at nearly 30 cents. When the 200m competition opens this week, his take-home pay will grow over $1.00.
The sprinter said he is willing to maintain an hourly rate if performance-based incentives can be added to the arrangement.
“If I win gold, what about a $250,000 bonus?” he said. “Or if give it my all in the 200 and break 18 seconds, I get to become King of Jamaica?”
American sprinter Justin Gatlin said after the race that Bolt should be grateful for whatever he gets.
“Team USA doesn’t really pay at all,” he said. “I’ve had to use international winnings and endorsement money over the years just to afford all of my PEDs.”