Usain Bolt has responded to a change in the British tax laws by committing himself to run in the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games when London’s Olympic Stadium re-opens on July 24.
The 28-year-old Jamaican won gold medals in the 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m relay at the London 2012 Olympics – but only after HMRC announced a tax exemption for competitors.
He has not competed in Britain since the 2013 Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games because of his objections to a law that sees sportsmen and women taxed on global sponsorship and endorsement earnings, as well as any appearance fee - levied at the 50 per cent higher earning rate when they compete in Britain.
British Chancellor George Osborne, however, waived UK income tax for athletes based overseas in this year’s Budget.
The event takes place just four weeks before the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Beijing and will be the final time the original London 2012 track is used before a new surface is laid for the 2017 World Championships in the Stadium.
British Athletics has secured the right to host athletics in the former Olympic Stadium for one month every year for the next 50 years from 2016.
The Anniversary Games comprise a two-day International Association of Athletics Federations’ Diamond League meeting on Friday July 24 and Saturday July 25, with the Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final taking place on Sunday July 26.
Other than Bolt, who pulled out of the last two Diamond League meetings in Paris and Lausanne because of continuing problems with his left leg, the cast for the reopening of the stadium following its conversion features two of Britain’s “Super Saturday” stars, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill, 800m world record holder and London Olympic champion David Rudisha and more than a dozen world or Olympic champions.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, commented: “The opening night of the Anniversary Games has attracted the strongest field ever assembled for a single night of athletics, providing Londoners with another 'I was there' moment.
“The chance to see a living legend like Bolt is very rare and we are delighted to be able to welcome him to the reopening of the stadium where he so thrilled us all at the 2012 Games.
“It is a beginning of a new chapter for the Stadium and there will be many more amazing nights to come - it is wonderful that we are starting in such style."
To buy tickets to the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games click here.
June 2015: Bolt says New York IAAF Diamond League meeting win is "one of the worst races I’ve run"
May 2015: Bolt and Jamaica beaten in IAAF World Relays after Gatlin's inspired leg
May 2015: Bolt says ahead of IAAF World Relays that running against Gatlin is "not an issue"
February 2015: Bolt: "I will retire after the 2017 World Championships in London"
February 2015: Bolt looks forward to sport's rising stars competing at Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics