Speedo is ending its sponsorship of Olympic gold medalist and swimmer Ryan Lochte, the company announced Monday.
Speedo tweeted the following statement on Monday:
Speedo USA today announces the decision to end its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte. As part of this decision, Speedo USA will donate a $50,000 portion of Lochte’s fee to Save the Children, a global charity partner of Speedo USA’s parent company, for children in Brazil. 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. We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.
The 32-year-old sparked an international controversy over a robbery that turned out to be a made-up story.
Lochte issued a statement on Friday where he apologized for his “behavior,” citing language barriers and being out late in a foreign country as contributing factors to the international incident.
Even without the scandal, Lochte went to Rio with fewer sponsors than he had in London, when he was endorsed by companies like Gatorade, Nissan, Mutual of Omaha and P&G.
Ralph Lauren also announced Monday it would not renew its sponsorship contract with the 12-time Olympic medalist.
Even without the incident, Lochte’s endorsement deals may have been hurt by the fact that his teammate Michael Phelps stole some of his thunder when he came out of retirement to go to Rio and hinted that this could be his last Olympics.
For Lochte, picking up endorsements isn’t just about prestige — sponsor funding will be key if he wants to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
His teammate Phelps was in a similar spot when a photo of him smoking a bong surfaced and he was then charged with DUI. He initially lost sponsors, but he won new ones after going to rehab and appearing sorry for his actions.