Australian swimmer, Alicia Coutts, a 5-time Olympic medalist from the 2012 London Olympic Games, has not netted one major endorsement according to the Herald Sun.
For two years the Aussie swim star capturing all of the headlines was ”The Missile” James Magnussen. He sucked the oxygen out of the room, was swimming’s blue-ribbon event headliner, until Nathan Adrian snatched the 100 meter freestyle gold in London. Before the Olympic Games, Magnussen secured weighty endorsement deals, but that silver in his signature event reportedly cost him upwards of a quarter-of-a-million in bonus revenue. Magnussen will still take home $750,000 from his backers, Samsung, Commonwealth Bank, Subway and that swimwear company whose name begins with an S.
Coutts was, despite her stunning performance in London, overlooked.
Aussie swimmers have, historically, done as well financially as they have in the pool. Ian Thorpe was among the top earners in the Australian sports arena during his heyday, pulling down 4.5 million a year. Grant Hackett, no slouch, took home 1.5 million per year, as reported by the Herald.
Coutts, always affable and positive, claims her Olympic manager is in negioations with companies. Alas, the ink isn’t dry, and she’s actually working a part-time job.
“I’m back at work, I’ve just been working a couple of days a week just because I have been so busy,” Coutts told the Herald Sun. “I do it just because I love it. I don’t exactly need to work. If I did not work I’d be fine, but I just do it because it’s something to keep my mind off swimming and to keep me occupied in the day. I don’t feel any different and I kind of forget that I have won them. Until people mention it I just kind of forget about it.”
Coutts’ 5 medal haul in London equals Ian Thorpe at one Olympics, and her lack of endorsment revenue clearly has nothing to do with her star-turning performance. There are many factors involved; Australian Swimming receiving negative press, the poor economy, and Coutts not capturing the media attention before setting foot on deck in London.
This story has played out again and again, though rarely with an athlete winning so much hardware. The Olympic business cycle starts eighteen months before the Games. If you don’t have name value, at least in the corporate world’s eyes, endorsement contracs are not signed.
Coutts has returned to trainning in preparation for the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. At 25 years old, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio appear on the distant horizon. Hopefully, at 28 and 29 years old, she’ll still be swimming at the same level and receive the financial support she deserves.