Starts that shone in 2009

2009-12-29 11:49

 

USAIN BOLT

After captivating the world at the 2008 Olympic Games, winning

three gold medals and setting three world records, some might have thought Usain

Bolt was merely a momentary Beijing cracker.

But the 23-year-old Jamaican proved that he was a fire that kept

getting hotter when he struck again at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin,

Germany.

He won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4X100m relay at the

event.

The famous yam eater became the first athlete to hold the 100m and

200m world and Olympics titles at the same time. As his popularity on the track grew, so did his bank balance.

The 1.96m-tall athlete reportedly earns $200?000 (R1.5?million) and

$250?000 a race, while his sponsorship deal with Puma is worth $1.5?million a

year.

Bolt’s commercial endorsements, appearance fees, bonuses and prize

monies are estimated to have brought him about $10?million this year.

LIONEL MESSI

Voted as the 2009 Fifa World Player of the Year just this week,

Lionel Messi is described by Wikipedia as “one of the best football players of

his generation”.

The 22-year-old’s achievements this year include scoring six goals

in seven La Liga games from midfield for Barcelona and netting the winner in the

final of the 2009 Fifa Club World Cup against Estudian­tes in Abu Dhabi.

The Argentinian international has so far scored 16 times in 23

matches in the 2009/10 season. He was named as the 2009 Ballon d’Or (European Footballer of the

Year) early this month.

His exploits on the field have seen Messi justifying why a contract

extension he signed on September 18 binding him to Camp Nou until 2016 made him

the highest-paid player in La Liga.

The player, who was born with growth hormone deficiency, earns

around €9.5?million (R104 million) a year.

MANNY PACQUIAO

When Manny Pacquiao defeated Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight

bout last month he became the first boxer to win ­seven world titles in seven

divisions.

Rated as the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world ahead of

Floyd Mayweather Jnr by Ring Magazine, the Filipino idol is a former IBO junior

welterweight, WBC lightweight, WBC junior lightweight, IBF junior featherweight

and WBC flyweight champion.

Earlier this year Pacquiao knocked out highly rated Englishman

Ricky Hatton in just two rounds for the IBO welterweight crown.

His fight against Cotto generated 1.25?million buys and $70?million

in domestic pay-per-view revenue, making it the most watched boxing event of

2009.

Pacquiao earned around $22?million, while Cotto got around

$12?million. The 31-year-old has participated in politics, acting, filmmaking

and music recording. He has 50 wins (38 by knockout) against three losses and

two draws.


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