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8:19 pm - Thursday September 29, 2016

How much is a World Record at 100 Meters Worth?

| Economics | Rating: 4.5
by Numan

Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps face a tremendous challenge capitalizing on their recent Olympic success


Economy teaches us rare resources are highly prized as demand greatly exceeds supply. If that is indeed the case the fastest man alive should be able to capitalize on his ability to cover 100 meters in 9.69 seconds.

Technically, 200 meter sprinters achieve a higher average speed throughout the race. However, since Usain Bolt just shattered what was considered an unbreakable record set by Michael Johnson 12 years ago we are freed from such technicalities.

Puma is definitely going to capitalize on Bolt’s aggressive display of his lucky golden shoes. What’s in it for Bolt?

Well, suffice to quote the moment’s conspiracy theory according to which Bolt actually slowed down during the end of the 100 meter race to cash-out bigger when he snaps his own current record the next time around.

I wasn’t able to find how much Bolt’s Puma deal went for but the company definitely made a wise bet achieving imaginary exposure to billions of people.

Olympic sports such as swimming, athletics, gymnastics and other are often compared to start-up companies. A very risky initial investment can turn into millions of dollars should the athlete prove to win medals and championships.

Michael Phelps’ recently acquired 8 gold medals are estimated to cash in $50 million in the next 4 years alone. Apparently Phelps has earned “only” $5 million this year. Larger estimates speak of imaginary amounts of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Winning a gold medal as a member of team USA is worth around $100,000 on average but super athletes are in a league of their own. My bet is that Usain Bolt won’t be far behind Michael Phelps in the upcoming 4 years.


Top earning athletes usually come from major sports and Olympic athletes don’t easily find their way into the list. Among the best paid athletes are Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Tiger woods and other all earning amounts of $25-$80 million a year. Phelps and Bolt are still far away from the A-list of top paid athletes.

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