First there was the diamond American-flag grill Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte tried to wear on the podium while collecting a gold medal. Then came his admission that he pees in the pool and his mother’s suggestion that the busy 28-year-old only has time for one-night stands.
Despite the sometimes-negative publicity, sports-business experts say Lochte’s antics shouldn’t hurt his ability to cash in on his five London medals. If anything, they might help.
“I don’t think Ryan was a buttoned-up guy to begin with,” says Evan Morgenstein, CEO of PMG Sports, which represents past Olympians like Janet Evans as well as Tyler Clary, a swimmer who won a gold medal in London in the 200-meter backstroke. ”A tight-a– Madison Avenue ad agency who has a client that is risk-averse — they weren’t going to work with him anyway.”
Lochte, a Rochester, N.Y., native, has nine big endorsement deals with the likes of Speedo, Gatorade, Ralph Lauren and Gillette, which presented him with a blinged-out razor to match his grill at a press event Aug. 5. And Fortune has estimated his 2012 endorsement earnings at $2.3 million.
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