In the realm of track and field, not even Caitlyn Jenner has approached the kind of earning power Usain Bolt has enjoyed since bursting on the scene with a pair of individual world records in 2008.
The 29-year-old sprinter, who ran what he says was his final Olympic race Friday night when he and the Jamaican relay team won gold, took home $32.5 million over the calendar year leading up to the 2016 Summer Olympics, and he stands to make even more in the coming year after Rio de Janeiro.
Bolt ranked No. 32 on Forbes Magazine’s annual list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes, raking in $2.5 million in winnings and another $30 million in endorsements between June 2015 and June 2016. He is the only Olympian on the top-100 list who doesn’t play professional basketball, golf, tennis or soccer.
Bolt’s good fortune can point directly back to the activism of American track legend Edwin Moses. In 1981, “track and field was a very amateur sport,” said Moses in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sports.
Moses realized he was in position to do something about the inability for track stars to make a honest living – rather than take under-the-table payments.
“I started by demanding more pay for what I was doing,” said Moses, “because I was one of the few people in a position to ask, with gold medals and world records. I could always say I can’t run.”
Fast forward: Bolt’s estimated net worth is $60 million.
But it’s hard to imagine Bolt is worth just $60 million if he’s annually earned tens of millions for the past eight years, so take that number with a heaping helping of salt. The $32.5 million figure from his previous year is a more accurate depiction of Bolt’s earning power, as he reportedly makes up to $400,000 in appearance fees for each of his estimated eight annual events in non-Olympic years. Add a sponsorship deal worth more than $10 million per year through 2025, nine more global endorsements and seven regional campaigns, and you can see how his salary starts to skyrocket.
On top of all that, Bolt appears as a character in the wildly popular video game Temple Run.
After winning the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay, Bolt has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest Olympians in history. Endorsements aren’t expected to fade anytime soon for Bolt, even if this is his last Olympics.
Oh, by the way, Bolt would earn an estimated $60,000 for each gold medal in Rio, but as we’ve learned from his tax returns from the past few Olympic cycles, that’s chump change for the Jamaican.