Reported by Liku Zelleke
Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, 32, has become a commodity that is too hot to handle following the false allegations he made last week about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. He’s become too hot, in fact, every sponsor has dropped him.
The first to bail was swimming sportswear maker Speedo which decided on Monday that it would no longer be sponsoring the Rio Olympic Men’s 4x200m freestyle relay gold winner.
Within half-a-day of Speedo terminating its sponsorship, all the others followed suit. Fashion brand Ralph Lauren decided to drop Lochte next and they were followed by Syneron-Candela, which is the parent company of Gentle Hair Removal. Next in line was Airweave, the mattress firm.
All Airweave gave by way of a statement to NBC was that they had “made the decision to end our partnership with Ryan Lochte.”
Events started to go downhill for Lochte after the competitive swimmer who has won 12 Olympic medals – ranked second only to compatriot Michael Phelps – lied about the “robbery” in Rio. An investigation into the matter found that he and three other fellow Olympians had vandalized a gas station and urinated on its walls.
The seriousness with which Speedo took the matter can be seen from the fact that back in 2014, the company stood by Phelps despite his pleading guilty to drink-driving charges. The company said that they couldn’t “condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for” before adding that they appreciated his “many achievements” and hoped that he “moves forward and learns from his experience.”
Lochte seems to be resigned to his fate and all he could say in a statement about Speedo’s move was that he respected the company’s decision to drop him and that he was “grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has offered me over the years. I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together.”
Syneron-Candela’s statement was a little blunter as it said the company held its employees to high standards and that they had expected “the same of our business partners.”
Lochte, who’s estimated to be worth $3 million, will be badly hurt financially as the sponsorships were estimated to net him in the environs of $250,000 each.