Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Four sponsors said Monday that they are ending or not renewing their relationships with embattled U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, after he admitted to “over-exaggerating” a story about being held up at gunpoint in the Rio de Janeiro.
Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, Gentle Hair Removal, and mattress maker Airweave have all said that they will not be working with the swimmer going forward.
“Speedo USA today announces the decision to end its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte,” the company said in a statement Monday. “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 company added.
Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren, which also sponsored the disgraced swimmer during this year’s Olympics, told ABC News that it would not be renewing his contract.
The company noted in its statement that it “continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic team and the values that its athletes embody.”
“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,” Ryan J. Lally, the vice president of global corporate communications for the company, said in a statement.
Similarly, Airweave, a mattress company, said it had “made the decision to end our partnership with Ryan Lochte,” but would continue to support Team USA in the upcoming Paralympic Games.
Syneron-Candela, the parent of Gentle Hair Removal, also reportedly issued a statement ending their sponsorship of Lochte.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the swimmer had responded to the companies’ announcements.
The 12-time Olympic medalist and reality TV star recently admitted that he “over-exaggerated” when he claimed that he and three other U.S. swimmers were held up at gunpoint after leaving a party early in the morning while the games were on-going. Among his claims, he said that a gun was cocked and pointed at his forehead.
“That’s why I’m taking full responsibility for it,” he told NBC News in a clip posted online. “I over-exaggerated that story.”
“That didn’t happen,” he said in the interview.
Instead, Brazilian police officials allege, the swimmers vandalized a bathroom at a gas station and were confronted by armed security guards.
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun announced in Rio on Sunday that further action would be coming in the case. At a daily media briefing, he did not specify what disciplinary action would be taken, but he was clearly displeased with Lochte and the other three swimmers.
“They let down the other athletes, they let down Americans, and they let down our hosts in Rio,” Blackmun said. “We are going to have further action on this when we get back to the United States.”
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