The fallout continues. After Speedo USA announced Monday, August 22, that it is ending its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte after the Olympic athlete admitted to “overexaggerating” his story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio, three other companies have followed suit.
Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal all said later in the day that they are ending their relationships with the 12-time Olympic medalist.
“Ralph Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic team and the values that its athletes embody,” the brand, which was the official outfitter for Team USA, said in a statement to Us Weekly. “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.”
Japanese mattress company Airweave tweeted its decision on Monday afternoon. “Our endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. After careful consideration, we have made the decision to end our partnership with Ryan Lochte,” the brand said. “We remain committed to supporting Team USA and the athletes preparing for the Paralympic Games.”
This comes after the founder and CEO Motokuni Takaoka told Bloomberg on Thursday, August 18, that Airweave planned to stand by the disgraced Olympian. “I respect the athletic performance of Ryan, and as long as he is a respectable athlete, he will remain the U.S. ambassador for Airweave as long as our partnership remains effect,” he said. “We are focused on supporting Team USA and our support will remain the same.”
Gentle Hair Removal’s parent company, Syneron-Candela, told The Washington Post that it holds employees “to highest standards, and we expect the same of our business partners.”
Lochte, 32, said in a statement to Us after Speedo’s announcement, “I respect Speedo’s decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years. I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together.”
The swimwear company also announced that it would donate a $50,000 portion of the athlete’s fee to Save the Children for kids in Brazil.
Forbes estimated that the swimmer could lose up to $10 million in endorsements due to the scandal.
In an interview with Matt Lauer that aired Monday during the Today show, Lochte tried to explain his behavior.
“[The people of Rio] put on a great games,” the swimmer said. “They did everything. And my immature, intoxicated behavior tarnished that a little.”
As previously reported, Lochte and fellow Team USA swimmers Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Gunnar Bentz told authorities that they had been robbed at gunpoint after leaving a party. After law enforcement reviewed surveillance footage, they announced that the athletes had “fabricated” the story to cover up vandalizing a gas station bathroom.
The CEO of the U.S. Olympics Committee also told the Associated Press on Sunday that disciplinary action is coming for the four athletes.
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