Lochte loses all major sponsors

Source:Reuters Published: 2016/8/23 22:53:40

Swimmer suffers financial hit after Rio ‘mistake’

US swimmer Ryan Lochte reacts after a men's 200-meter freestyle semifinal at the US Olympic swimming trials on June 27 in Omaha, Nebraska. Photo: IC

US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte lost all four of his major sponsors on Monday, including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren Corp, following his apology for an "exaggerated" story about being robbed at gunpoint at the Rio Games.

Lochte's version of the incident ­embarrassed the host city, angered local officials and further revelations about it - casting doubt on Lochte's story - dominated news coverage of South America's first Olympic Games.

The US Olympic Committee issued an apology on Thursday, and Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, made his own apology on Saturday in an interview with Brazil's largest broadcaster, Globo TV.

"I wasn't lying to a certain extent," he said. "I over-exaggerated what was happening to me."

Within hours of the Games coming to a close on Sunday night, swimwear maker Speedo USA issued a statement saying it would drop Lochte as one of its endorsers, while luxury ­retailer Ralph Lauren said it would not be renewing its contract with the swimmer.

Hair removal company Syneron Candela also ended its partnership with Lochte, four months after naming him its global brand ambassador for one of its products.

Japanese mattress maker Airweave, which last week had said it would stand by Lochte, on Monday said it had decided it would not renew the endorsement, which had been made for the Rio Games.

Sponsorship and endorsement deals typically include "morals ­clauses" that allow sponsors to terminate deals early if they feel the athlete has behaved poorly in public.

UK-based Speedo's US unit said Monday it would donate $50,000 of Lochte's fee to Save The Children, a global charity partner of Speedo.

Lochte said in an e-mail that he ­respected Speedo's decision.

"I was immature and I made a ­stupid mistake. I'm human. I made a mistake and I defi­nitely learned from this," Lochte said in an interview on the Today show.

"They [the people of Rio] put on a great Games ... And my immature, intoxicated behavior tarnished that a little."

Ralph Lauren had taken down references to the gold medalist from its website last week, and on Monday it said it would not renew the Olympic-­specific deal, which featured Lochte and other Olympic athletes wearing Ralph Lauren-branded Olympic ­merchandise.

"We are transitioning out all Olympic visual as the Games ended yesterday, and we are moving into our fall fashion message," Macy's spokeswoman Holly Thomas said in an e-mail.

Lochte, 32, won one gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games. He was the breakout star of the 2012 London Games, landing a short-lived reality TV series called What Would Ryan Lochte Do? and appearing, as himself, on top shows such as 30 Rock and 90210.

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