Noah Lyles: 5 reasons why the world's fastest man is deserving of the 'richest contract' since Usain Bolt's retirement

Noah Lyles and Usain Bolt

Noah Lyles: 5 reasons why the world's fastest man is deserving of the 'richest contract' since Usain Bolt's retirement

Funmilayo Fameso 01:17 - 01.03.2024

Noah Lyles landmark contract extension with Adidas is well-deserving as no one comes close since Usain Bolt's retirement than the world's fastest man who's on a mission to transcend the sport.

When news broke that the world's fastest man Noah Lyles had extended his contract with Adidas, claimed to be the 'richest' since Usain Bolt's retirement, many doubted if he's deserving of any amount close to or more than that of the legendary sprinter. 

For context, Bolt renewed his contract with German sportswear giant Puma in 2010 and was reportedly on $10M/year. The next highest figure shared was in 2015 when Andre De Grasse’s Puma deal was worth $11.25M over an undisclosed time. 

Though Lyles's specific figures were not made public, his extension is until the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, and doing an easy math calculation suggests it is less than Bolt's deal, but over $2.3M/year.

If the above-suggested specifics are to go by, then the 26-year-old is more than deserving of such honour based on his contributions on and off track, and here are 5 reasons why.

1 - Dominance on the track backed by medals and records

Lyles first signed with Adidas since the 2016 Olympic Trials, when he finished fourth in the 200m final as a high school senior.

Since then, he has won six world titles, clocked the 200m American Record of 19.31s (also third-fastest in history), won an Olympic bronze medal, been the most dominant force in the 200m event since Bolt's retirement in 2017, and featured in several global campaigns for Adidas and other world-renowned activities.

So like the Jamaican legend, he has backed up his juicy contract with exceptional performances on the track.

2 - Face of Athletics

Last season (2023), Lyles stood tall as the one to take track and field to the next level. He placed athletics in the spotlight and made it the center of attention when he made his “World champion of what? jab at the NBA, to which much of the sporting public in America reacted to the comments with outrage and anger - filling broadcast schedules with opinions about why Lyles was wrong.

His vocal position on issues made him the most talked about and controversial male track athlete. Also, he became increasingly peerless at knowing how to be famous away from the track and transcending the sport. 

An athlete able to match Bolt as the face of athletics and the aspect of being famous away from the track deserves to be rewarded with the juiciest package by his main sponsors.

3 - Brand visibility and sales for Adidas

The purpose of any business is profit. Adidas wouldn't be investing in Lyles if they weren't sure he'd give them the return on their investment based on brand visibility and sales.

To buttress this, Adidas lost in revenue growth last year as New Balance, Asics, Nike, and Puma took the leading positions.

New Balance topped the revenue growth in 2023

They'll be looking forward to a change in 2024 and beyond, and with the extensive commitments through campaigns lined up for Lyles as a clause in the contract, Adidas has seen the positive outlook on such investment - one in which Bolt was a major driving force in Puma's visibility till date.

4 - Unrivalled external and internal influence

One thing Bolt dominantly accomplished aside from his track speed was his unrivaled influence both within and outside the sport.

His contagious personality on and off track, directly and indirectly, brought more fans to the sport through his finesse and ability to share his personal life as one of the ways to create more pizzazz for the outside athletics community.

Lyles currently leads front and center in that aspect too. His extensive commitments off-track have seen his recent initiative witness athletes arrive for meets in fashionable styles. 

Noah Lyles and Lily Collins of Emily in Paris for Olympic commercial

The speedster has attended fashion shows collaborating with designers, artists, and musicians, as well as starring in his docuseries designed to peek behind the scenes of the sprinting world. He is arguably the face of track and field in all ramifications and deserves a top paycheck to accompany it.

5 - Passion for the sport

Lyles, without any iota of doubt, has shown his commitment and passion for the sport, demonstrating on numerous occasions that he's the best male individual brand for the next few years, both in his consistency at winning and his demeanor of transcending the sport off-track.

Noah Lyles

"Not only does Lyles know how to win, he is also becoming increasingly adept at knowing how to play the game away from the track.

"He regularly speaks of “wanting to transcend” the sport and being more than “track famous. The fact he is coping with it, and indeed inviting it in, is highly impressive in itself," wrote Euan Crumley for  

His passion for taking track and field to the next level is unarguable, and we can see him not as 'The Next Usain Bolt', but the Noah Lyles leading a new generation of athletics superstars.