Why Wilfred Bungei declined a Ksh 77 million deal with Adidas & opted for retirement

Why Wilfred Bungei declined a Ksh 77 million deal with Adidas & opted for retirement

Abigael Wafula 05:32 - 17.06.2024

Former world indoor champion Wilfred Bungei has revealed why he snubbed the millions Adidas were offering him after his victory at the 2008 Olympic Games and chose to retire instead.

Wilfred Bungei has explained why he snubbed the adidas deal that offered him millions and opted to retire while at the top of his game.

Bungei announced his retirement after winning the 2008 Olympic gold over the 800m, something that shocked the entire athletics world but he has no regrets concerning that.

The former world 800m bronze medallist explained that he had worked hard for 10 years to attain the gold medal and since he had accomplished everything on the track, he decided to change course and venture into something different.

Adidas were offering him USD 150,000 every year for four years but Bungei told his agent Gianni Demadonna that money was not everything and that he had everything he wanted. The former world indoor champion disclosed that he had no chance going up against world record holder David Rudisha at the 2012 London Olympics and he did not want to lose the race.

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“When I won the Olympics in 2008, I had worked hard for 10 years. I went to the Olympics in Athens and I was a favourite to win but I wasn’t able to do so which is something that happens to many athletes.

“Sometimes you go to a competition, you feel very good and know that you will win but things don’t happen the way you want. I finished fifth. In 2008, I went and I was ranked number 12. When I arrived in Athens, because of the pressure and everything, I lost the race but in 2008, I didn’t have the pressure and I went ahead and won the Olympics.

“When I won, I asked myself, ‘What else are you looking for?’, because the Olympics is the highest level of competition. When you go to the Olympics, participating alone is very important. Immediately I won, I announced my retirement, and going outside, I met my agent who disclosed that he had negotiated a deal with Adidas that would give me USD 150,000 per year for four years and he told me there was no way I could reject that deal.

“I told him that money is not everything and I added that I had achieved everything I wanted in my career which was to win Olympics or at least to get a medal. I had decided and I saw that it was the best thing to do.

“I also didn’t have a chance to win anything going up against David Rudisha at the 2012 London Olympics so I felt like it never made sense for me,” Bungei said in an interview on the Safari za Mabingwa show hosted by comedian Obinna.

He explained that the reason behind retiring while at his peak was because he wanted to be remembered for that and he was also afraid of losing the next races.