Ryan Lochte: Olympic swimmer dropped by three sponsors
Ryan Lochte lost three major sponsors when swimsuit company Speedo USA, clothing giant Ralph Lauren and skin-care firm Syneron-Candela announced in quick succession Monday they were dumping the swimmer over a drunken incident during the Rio Olympics that he initially described as an armed robbery.
Speedo USA also said it would donate $50,000 of Lochte's fee to Save The Children to benefit needy youngsters 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," the prominent swimsuit company said in a brief statement. "We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience."
Shortly after Speedo USA made its announcement, Ralph Lauren and Syneron-Candela followed suit.
"Ralph Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody," said Ralph Lauren, which provided the Polo-branded attire worn by the American team at the opening and closing ceremonies. "Ralph Lauren's endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the company will not be renewing his contract."
Syneron-Candela offers a line of skin-treatment products that deal with body contouring, wrinkle reduction, acne and vein care, as well as tattoo removal.
"We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners," the company said. "We wish Ryan well on his future endeavors and thank him for the time he spent supporting our brand."
Lochte issued a brief statement through his public relations firm addressing his long relationship with Speedo.
"I respect Speedo's decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years," he said. "I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together."
Initially, Lochte said he and three swimming teammates were robbed after their taxi was pulled over by armed men posing as police the night after the swimming competition ended in Rio de Janeiro.
He has since apologized for embellishing his version of events.
The financial costs of losing Speedo and Ralph Lauren are likely to be only the first sanctions that await Lochte, whose night of partying ended up tarnishing the reputation of the American team and dominating news away from the stadiums and arenas in the final days of the Rio Games that closed Sunday night.
Both the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming have indicated that Lochte will be punished, perhaps endangering the 32-year-old's hopes of competing in a fifth Olympics at Tokyo in 2020. He could also face criminal charges in Brazil.
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