29. Tyson Gay – American, 28, Athletics (-)
Following Usain Bolt’s explosion onto the world athletics scene at the Beijing Olympics and his current dominance of the 100 metres event, American Tyson Gay has found himself, rather unfortunately, somewhat overshadowed. Despite being the second fastest man to run 100 metres in history, with a time of 9.69 seconds in 2009, after struggling at the Beijing Olympics due to a hamstring injury, Gay has failed to receive the worldwide exposure of his Jamaican rival.
Nevertheless the London 2012 100 metres final is one of the most eagerly awaited showdowns of all-time, with Tyson Gay billed as the only man who can beat Bolt. There is definitely no love lost between the pair, with Bolt fuelling the anticipation of the spectacle by highlighting their fractious relationship. “We talk, but I wouldn't say we're friends,” he has said. “When I came on the scene, me and Tyson, we were kind of close friends. As soon as I started winning, all of that changed. He stopped talking to me.”
Gay, the top-ranked American sprinter, already holds a multi-million sponsorship deal with Adidas, and endorses companies including McDonald’s, Sega and Omega, but in the run-up to the London Games, his marketability is greater than ever. If he were to topple Bolt at the Olympics, and to a lesser extent at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in South Korea, Gay could emerge from Bolt’s considerable shadow as a very rich man indeed.