Lochte loses Speedo, other deals

Robbery story fallout intensifies
Fallout from his Brazilian robbery story is costing Ryan Lochte business deals, including with Speedo.
Fallout from his Brazilian robbery story is costing Ryan Lochte business deals, including with Speedo.

The fallout from Ryan Lochte’s story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio — a tale the Brazilian police said was not true — continued Monday after four companies said they would end business partnerships with the American swimmer.

After a week of intense international media attention and anger in Brazil, the financial repercussions were swift for Lochte as Speedo USA, the luxury retailer Ralph Lauren and the mattress company Airweave all announced that they would part ways with the 12-time Olympic medalist. And Syneron Candela, a company that sells hair-removal devices, told Reuters its relationship with the swimmer ended Sunday.

Speedo USA said in a message posted to Twitter that it would instead donate a $50,000 portion of Lochte’s fee to a charity to help Brazilian children.

“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 company said in its statement.

On Monday, Kim Angelastro, a spokeswoman for Syneron Candela, wrote in an email, “We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners.” Lochte was a spokesman for its Gentle Hair Removal brand.

Through a spokeswoman, Ralph Lauren said Monday that Lochte’s endorsement agreement with the clothing company had been only for the 2016 Olympics, and that his contract would not be renewed.

Airweave said on Twitter that “after careful consideration, we have made the decision to end our partnership with Ryan Lochte.”

The decisions to cut ties with Lochte, 32, were the first major signs of the financial fallout for the Olympic swimmer, who for the past week has been at the center of an international firestorm after the Brazilian police said he and three other American athletes, Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, had fabricated the story of being robbed after a late-night party in Rio.

Authorities said that the swimmers had instead drunkenly vandalized a gas station bathroom, paying a security guard about $50 for the damage before leaving. Lochte originally said that the car they were traveling in had been stopped by armed men, who held a gun to his head. But his story later changed.

A Brazilian judge ordered the swimmers to remain in Rio de Janeiro, but Lochte had already left the country. After Conger and Bentz were pulled from their flight to the United States, they told police that the confrontation began when Lochte pulled a poster off a gas station wall.

Feigen, 26, later donated $10,800 to a charity in Rio that teaches martial arts to poor children.

Lochte first issued an apology on social media — “I should have been much more responsible for how I handled myself,” he wrote — then told Matt Lauer in an interview on NBC that he had been intoxicated and that he had “overexaggerated that story.”

He has maintained that he had been held at gunpoint.

“All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction, and we were demanded to give money,” Lochte said.

Lochte, whose boyish — and sometimes oafish — personality had made him a commercial success in Olympics past, had headed into Rio with fewer sponsors than he’d had at the London Games, according to a report by CNN Money. Lochte took home a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay in Rio.

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