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Speedo cuts ties with Ryan Lochte: 'We cannot condone his behavior'

Shalise Manza Young
·Yahoo Sports Columnist
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The consequences of lying are starting to be realized for Ryan Lochte: Speedo USA has announced in a Monday statement that it is cutting ties with the swimmer:

“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 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.”

Ryan Lochte (AP)
Ryan Lochte (AP)

Speedo USA is the first company to officially end its business relationship with Lochte, who caused an international incident last week in Rio when he claimed he and other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint; in truth, the four men vandalized a gas station, then cooked up a story to make them look like victims.

Lochte finally came clean, sort of, in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, tearfully saying he “over-exaggerated” the details of the story (over-exaggerated, lied, potato, potatoe…), but that was only after he’d been on NBC a few days earlier, saying he had a gun to his head and his reaction was a cavalier, “whatever.”

But it was too little, too late, for Speedo.

Later Monday, Ralph Lauren announced it would not renew its contract with Lochte. But the apparel giant’s deal with Lochte was “specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games”

Polo Ralph Lauren was the official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic team, providing the clothes athletes wore during the Opening Ceremony. A visit to the brand’s website on Monday afternoon shows that Lochte’s bio has been removed from the “Meet our athletes page,” but Lochte’s images modeling some of the items for sale have not yet been removed.

Polo Ralph Lauren
Polo Ralph Lauren “Meet our athletes” page, with Ryan Lochte removed (screen grab)
(Polo Ralph Lauren screen grab)
(Polo Ralph Lauren screen grab)

Lochte also has an endorsement deal with mattress company Airweave.

On Friday, Airweave CEO Motokuni Takoka emailed this to Bloomberg News: “I respect the athletic performance of Ryan, and as long as he is a respectable athlete, he will remain the U.S. ambassador for Airweave as long as our partnership agreement remains effective.”

Lochte, who is 32, won a gold medal in Rio as a member of the 4×200 meter relay team; it was the 12th Olympic medal of his career.