Lochte loses all his major sponsors after Rio incident, apology
Send a link to a friend
[August 24, 2016]
By Subrat Patnaik and Liana B. Baker
(Reuters) - U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan
Lochte lost all four of his major sponsors on Monday, including
Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren Corp <RL.N>, following his apology for
an "exaggerated" story about being robbed at gunpoint at the Rio
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
The U.S. 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 2016 Olympic 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.
Nottingham, UK-based Speedo's U.S. unit said on Monday it would
donate $50,000 of Lochte's fee to Save The Children, a global
charity partner of Speedo.
Lochte said in an email 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.
[to top of second column]
In this still image from video Olympic gold medallist swimmer Ryan
Lochte of the U.S. gives an interview to Globo TV at their studios
in New York City, August 20, 2016. Courtesy Globo TV via REUTERS
"They (the people of Rio) put on a great Games... And my immature,
intoxicated behavior tarnished that a little," Lochte said.
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 Olympics. He was the
breakout star of the 2012 London Olympics, 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".
(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru and Liana Baker in Rio de
Janeiro; Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant in New York and
Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty,
Shounak Dasgupta and Bill Rigby)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.