Bolt to skip meet, cites British tax
PARIS -- Usain Bolt won't compete at next month's Crystal Palace Diamond League meeting because of British tax rules.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of Friday's Areva meeting at the Stade de France, the Olympic and world champion in the 100 and 200 meters said he decided to skip the event after his agent informed him he would lose money by competing in London.
"I'm definitely not going to run [in Crystal Palace]," Bolt said Monday.
Bolt's agent Ricky Simms told The Associated Press the British tax law stipulates that foreign sports stars have to pay taxes on their worldwide endorsements, a situation that "in recent sports has kept a lot of the big stars in other sports away from Britain."
"Usain is possibly the first athlete to have endorsements at the level where he stands, but he would see his fees greatly diminish after taxes," Simms said.
Simms didn't say how much Bolt would have been paid by competing in London. The Jamaican will earn $250,000 for running the 100 in Paris.
According to British newspaper the Daily Mail, if Bolt competes once in Britain and only five races elsewhere, the British tax will demand one-sixth of his global earnings.
Simms said it was unlikely Bolt will compete in Britain again unless the country changes its tax rules.
"He will earn a lot less by competing in Britain if he maintains his current endorsement level," he said, adding that the rules did not apply to the Olympics. London will host the 2012 Games.
"We are now hoping they will change the law," Simms said.
Bolt matched the fastest time this year in the 100 last week in Lausanne, where he clocked 9.82 seconds on his return to competition following an Achilles' tendon injury.
In Paris, Bolt will run against fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell in a much anticipated showdown. Powell also clocked 9.82 last month in Rome.
"My main goal is to try to stay healthy until the end of the season and to stay unbeaten," Bolt said.
Powell is the last man to have beaten Bolt in the 100, two years ago in Stockholm.
"My goal will be not to lose this race," Bolt said. "I did well in Lausanne and I'm looking forward to it. I plan to go 9.7. It should be a good race. Asafa is ready."
Bolt said he was unsure he will be able to compete in the 200 again this season because his Achilles injury still prevents him from running corners.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press