Ryan Lochte sees sponsors walk away after Rio Olympics embarrassment

Ryan Lochte sees sponsors walk away after Rio Olympics embarrassment

Three more high-profile sponsors have followed Speedo in cutting ties with United States swimmer Ryan Lochte following his Olympic controversy.

The 32-year-old, having won his 12th Olympic medal at the Rio Games, made news for the wrong reasons in Brazil after fabricating claims that he was the victim of an armed robbery at a petrol station, along with team-mates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger.
Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger.

Bentz and Conger were removed from a plane on Rio's runway as they attempted to fly home, before being later allowed to leave Brazil, while Feigen was reported to have made a charitable donation of more than €9,000 to have a charge of falsely reporting a crime dropped, and to get his passport back.

All four are subject to an International Olympic Commission investigation into their conduct and, after swimsuit company Speedo withdrew their sponsorship of Lochte, clothing chain Ralph Lauren, skin-care firm Syneron-Candela and Japanese mattress maker Airweave followed suit.

"Ralph Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the US Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody," a statement from the company read. "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."

A Syneron-Candela statement said: "Syneron-Candela will be ending its partnership with Ryan Lochte.

We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners. We wish Ryan well on his future endeavours and thank him for the time he spent supporting our brand."

Airweave tweeted: "After careful consideration, we have made the decision to end our partnership with Ryan Lochte. We remain committed to supporting Team USA and the athletes preparing for the Paralympic Games."

Speedo were the first company to end a relationship with Lochte, announcing the decision in a statement on Monday.

It read: "Speedo USA today announces the decision to end its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte.

"As part of this decision, Speedo USA will donate a 50,000 US dollars (€43,800) 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 behaviour 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."

Lochte responded by issuing a statement through his public relations firm, saying: ''I respect Speedo's decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years."

Lochte was part of the USA's gold medal-winning 4x200 metres freestyle relay team for the fourth Olympics in succession, adding to further golds in the 400m individual medley at London 2012 and the 200m backstroke at Beijing 2008.

He also won 200m medley silver in Athens in 2004, 200m and 400m medley bronze medals in Beijing and two silvers and a bronze in London.

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