Puma has stuck with me through everything: Usain Bolt

Olympic athlete Usain Bolt's contract with sportswear brand PUMA has allowed him to become the "legend I am today," the sports star told CNBC's Tania Bryer.

The sprinter, whose deal with the Kering-owned company is worth an estimated $10m a year, has credited it with helping to build brand Bolt.

"For me to have grown up with the company to the point where I started being successful and then I am the legend that I am today, for me it's a great feeling to be a part of that and to actually help them to build my brand also, is just, it's been brilliant."


However, the ride hasn't always been smooth, with Jochen Zeitz, a former CEO of Puma, telling "CNBC Meets" in 2013 that the company nearly dropped its sponsorship of Bolt after a poor performance at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

"We said, 'Well, he's a young guy, but he doesn't really want to train as a hard as he should. He has all the potential but he does get injured. If he doesn't practice he's never going to be great,'" Zeitz told the show.

A decision to release Bolt was reversed by Zeitz, who had an instinct that the company should stick with him. It has been a sponsor since 2002, and he also has deals with Gatorade, watchmaker Hublot and the U.K.'s Virgin Media.

The athlete told CNBC he carefully considers deals with brands. "My team always do a good job in making sure they do research and making sure we collaborate with prestige brands or the big brands, or the brands that try to change or do good…

"So that's something that we will take our time, we don't just jump on to any deal, we always make sure it's good and that everything works out in the right way.

"So we always try to work with the brands for a long time… that we know we're going to be with for yours."

The athlete was speaking to CNBC in London ahead of the release of the movie "I am Bolt" and said he was ambitious for the future of his personal brand when he retires after the 2017 World Athletics Championships, to be held in London next August.

"We're always looking for opportunities to try to push the Bolt brand bigger. And this is one of them to do a movie that 'I am Bolt' to make people know who I am so they want to collaborate with me to help, so for me is this a big step and I'm looking forward to the future," he said.


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