Athletics: Bolt to race in Australia this summer

Usain Bolt celebrates victory after the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final at the Rio Olympics. Photo / Getty Images
Usain Bolt celebrates victory after the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final at the Rio Olympics. Photo / Getty Images

Nine-time Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt will race in Australia for the first time in February next year.

The greatest track and field athlete of all time is likely to earn upwards of $1 million as the star attraction in the inaugural edition of the Nitro Summer Series in Melbourne in the week of Feburary 5-11.

The series will involve up to eight teams representing countries and regions and is set to be broadcast on free-to-air television.

With the meets taking place so early in the year, the 30-year-old Bolt is likely to only contest relays.

But his signing is still a massive coup for Athletics Australia (AA) and the Victorian government.

There had also been serious interest in taking the Nitro series to Sydney.

"Nitro Athletics is a game-changer for athletics and Athletics Australia," said AA president Mark Arbib.

"We want to start the global reinvigoration of athletics right here in Australia."

Bolt will attend Friday's official launch of the Nitro Summer Series in Melbourne, a day after drawing huge attention as a celebrity guest at the Oaks at Flemington.

After winning a third straight golden Olympic treble in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in Rio in August, Bolt reiterated his intention to retire from track and field after the 2017 world championships in London.

But, speaking at Flemington on Thursday, he left open the possibility of remaining in the sport until the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Bolt's great American rival Justin Gatlin - who has served two doping bans - has also been linked with the Nitro Series.

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