Swimmer Ryan Lochte has lost all four of his major endorsements after admitting he’d lied about being robbed at gunpoint during Rio’s Olympics. Speedo USA, the biggest sponsor of the four, said it would not tolerate his behavior.
“While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” the company said in a statement. “We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.” The company also announced it would donate a portion of Lochte’s fee to its charity partner, Save the Children, to benefit children in Brazil. Lochte, who signed a 10-year deal with the company in 2006, thanked Speedo for “the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years,” in a statement.
Lochte also lost endorsement deals from Ralph Lauren (which removed his images from its website) and Gentle Hair Removal, whose parent company, Syneron-Candela, said in a statement that it holds its employees “to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners.” Japanese mattress manufacturer Airweave initially pledged to stand behind Lochte, but announced yesterday that it would also drop Lochte “after careful consideration.” ESPN’s Darren Rovell estimated Lochte lost $1 million in endorsement deals as a result of the scandal.
Industry sources tell me Lochte lost about $1 million in current endorsement deals today.
Many younger Olympians emerge with each four-year cycle of the Olympic Games, prompting a fierce battle for a limited amount of endorsements. David Carter, executive director of the Marshall Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California, implied that Lochte, at 32, is unlikely to recover. “Given his age, he is less likely to be competitive going forward,” he said.
Lochte first made headlines after he alleged that he––and fellow Olympic swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen––were the victims of a violent robbery after leaving a party on August 14. In an interview with NBC, Lochte described getting pulled over in a taxi by men who presented a police badge.
From left to right: Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger. (Credit: Source.)
“They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground––they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so––I’m not getting down on the ground,” he said at the time. Most dramatically, Lochte recalled being threatened at gunpoint: “And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
Brazilian law enforcement officials launched an investigation on the alleged crime after noticing inconsistencies between Lochte’s account and those of the other swimmers. The swimmers were unable to provide key details in interviews with police, who could not locate their taxi driver or their witnesses. When asked to address these inconsistencies,