Yohan Blake - Jamaican, 22, Athletics (New)
Usain Bolt may be indisputably the fastest man on earth, but he is no longer 100 metre world champion. The Jamaican’s dramatic false start in Korea last year cleared the way for his friend, training partner and compatriot Yohan Blake to take gold in track and field’s blue riband event.
22-year-old Blake is the youngest world champion in a generation but he appears no flash in the pan. Just a few days after his surprise success in Daegu Blake ran the second-fastest 200 metres ever, suggesting that he might provide Bolt with a far stiffer challenge at this summer’s Olympics and beyond than those who insist he is world champion by default might think.
Although still in Bolt’s considerable shadow, Blake has the charisma and Jamaican joie de vivre which strikes a chord with sponsors – his foundation set up last year is called YBAfraid, as is his website. He has also forged his own path when it comes to sponsorship, agreeing a five-year deal with Adidas when a junior Jamaican champion in 2009 despite the national team – and Bolt – being kitted out by Puma.
The months since the world championships have seen him secure local deals in his homeland with bottled water manufacturer Wisynco Group and telecommunications firm Lime but a significant challenge to Bolt in London would certainly propel Blake into an entirely different endorsement league, making him a value-for-money signing while he remains – merely – a world champion.