Usain Bolt is Jamaica’s hero. The nine-time Olympic gold medalist has done a lot to put his country on the map during competitions. What some fans may not know is that Bolt goes out of his way to give back to Jamaica even when it’s not his time to shine on the track. It’s how the Olympic running star gives back to his country by creating jobs in Jamaica that makes him an even bigger deal than just being the fastest man in the world.
In all of his success, Usain Bolt has become sought after by sponsors who want to feature him in print and filmed advertisements. Much like other high profile athletes, Bolt has sponsors with one of the biggest being Puma. He has filmed commercials for Virgin Airlines, Visa, ESPN and so many other major brands that few other athletes can even compete.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 20, 2016
How does all of this translate to more jobs in Jamaica? Usain Bolt is so highly sought after for appearances and ad shoots that he can write his own rules. While Bolt admits that in the beginning, most sponsors who wanted him as a part of their campaign also wanted him to come to them, now he can demand that they come to Jamaica.
According to Urban Money, Bolt claimed that most of the companies who hired him wanted all advertisement shoots done in places like Los Angeles. When he gained more popularity and became a household name, Bolt said that he started stipulating in contracts that the photo shoots and commercial shoots be done in Jamaica instead.
“They used to say, ‘Oh, thanks for bringing the shoots here,'” Bolt recalled. “We decided that you know what, we will be doing a lot more shoots. So any contract we sign, the shoot has to be in Jamaica. So we can give people jobs and help people. Over the weekends, we’ll have like over one hundred, two hundred people [working] depending on how big the shoot is.”
Just how big of a deal is Usain Bolt in Jamaica? We investigate. https://t.co/LseQLXOtHz
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) August 20, 2016
Usain Bolt believes that by bringing the shoots to Jamaica, he is also bringing jobs to his people even if they are just temporary positions while photos are taken or he is filmed. He is right too because all the exposure that the Caribbean country gets will help the economy and with it, the people who are given extra work.
After his most recent win during the 2016 Rio Olympics, Bolt made history. He now has nine Olympic gold medals and a triple-triple win after the Jamaican relay team came in first place on Friday night. Bolt had already won gold in the men’s 200-meter and the men’s 100-meter races.
— David Alaba (@David_Alaba) August 20, 2016
Usain Bolt is often credited with making the Olympics relevant again. As his medal count increases, so does his popularity which means that demand for his appearances will grow. Since Bolt made it clear that he stipulates in his contracts that all shoots be done in his home country, that also means more jobs for Jamaica.
Even USA Today reported that Usain Bolt has made watching track and field fun once again, and they are right. There have been arguments that Bolt is even more famous and more beloved to Jamaica than Bob Marley. That’s a huge compliment to the world’s fastest man. It’s also probably true. Bolt has been hailed as the most influential Jamaican athlete. As his popularity continues to grow, he’s turning into the most influential Jamaican, period.
[Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images]