Speedo and Ralph Lauren ditch Ryan Lochte in wake of American swim star's Rio "robbery" row

 
Frank Dalleres
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Lochte is the second most successful swimmer in Olympic history with 12 medals (Source: Getty)

American swimming star Ryan Lochte has been dumped by trunk-maker Speedo after he admitted to exaggerating claims that he and team-mates were robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics.

Luxury fashion retailer Ralph Lauren also said it would not be renewing its endorsement deal with Lochte, while other sponsors said they were reviewing their positions.

The 32-year-old – the second most successful swimmer in Olympic history after fellow American Michael Phelps – has been pilloried as the controversy has unravelled over the last 10 days.

Read more: These are the 50 most marketable athletes at Rio 2016

Speedo USA said it was ending its 10-year sponsorship of Lochte and would be making a $50,000 donation to Save The Children for the charity to distribute 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 values this brand has long stood for,” the company said.

“We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from the experience.”

Ralph Lauren said it would not be renewing the contract it signed with Lochte for Rio 2016, while spokespeople for hair removal brand Syneron Candela and mattress maker Airweave indicated they were reviewing their deals.

Lochte initially told American media that he and three other swimmers from the Unites States team had been robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police officers during a night out in Rio.

Brazilian investigators questioned the allegations and accused the swimmers of concocting the story to cover up the fact they had damaged a petrol station.

Some US media turned on one of their best-known athletes, with the New York Post labelling six-time gold medallist Lochte the “ugly American” in a front-page story last week.

Lochte apologised in an interview with Brazilian television on Saturday but denied lying, insisting he had been subjected to extortion by armed guards demanding payment for damage to the petrol station.

“I wasn’t lying to a certain extent,” he said. “I over-exaggerated what was happening to me. I’m sorry. Brazil doesn’t deserve that.”

Lochte ranked 17th in the City A.M. Rio 50 – an industry survey of the most marketable athletes at this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games – and was handed in his own TV show after starring at London 2012.

His endorsements for this year were estimated to be worth between $1m and $2m, despite only winning one gold medal – as part of the US 4 x 200m freestyle relay team – in Rio.

He said: “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.”

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