Ryan Lochte may have hightailed it out of Rio de Janeiro in the wake of his much-disputed tale of being a victim of an armed robbery, but his sponsors haven’t abandoned the 12-time Olympic medalist.
A Speedo spokesman confirmed Thursday that the now-notorious swimmer continues to be sponsored by the swimwear brand. As for whether they will stand by him, the spokesman said, “Speedo is following the situation, and has a policy not to comment on ongoing legal investigations.”
A Ralph Lauren spokesman said Thursday, “We are working closely with the USOC on the developments in Rio and are reviewing the situation.”
The four-time Olympian sparked an international firestorm Sunday, after claiming that he and three teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were pulled over and robbed by gun-toting men posing as police officers while on their way back to the Olympic Village after a night of drinking. Lochte has since retracted some of that storyline and Rio de Janeiro police claim he and his three fellow swimmers lied about the incident and vandalized a restroom in a gas station.
A spokesman for Air Weave, the official mattress supplier of the U.S. Olympic team, and another endorser of Lochte, said Thursday, “We are not in a position to comment at this time.”
Executives at Polo Ralph Lauren, Gatorade and Marriott did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. Although Gillette is listed among Lochte’s sponsors on his web site, a company spokeswoman said he is not a Gillette-signed athlete for the Rio 2016 Summer Games. She declined to specify if he is endorsed by the company beyond the Olympics.
Lochte, who celebrated his 32nd birthday last week, returned to his Gainseville, Fla., home Tuesday. Brazilian officials escorted Bentz and Conger from their airplane Wednesday night for further questioning and have since been released. Feigen was said to be still in Rio on Thursday. An International Olympic Committee spokeswoman said Thursday, “We understand there is a police inquiry and we are therefore not able to comment further.” Executives at the U.S. Olympic Committee did not respond immediately to requests for comment Thursday.
Four years ago, Lochte had legal issues of another kind, trademarking the expression “Jeah” or as he explained, “It means like almost everything.”