Emily Seebohm has signed a huge marketing contract with Kia Motors, according to the marketing website sportspromarketing.com. The deal is believed to be in the low six-figure range, though an official value has not been released, and is the latest foray for Kia Motors into advertising through sports. Kia has also become very visible through it’s sponsorship of NBA basketball, and internationally is a major partner of World Archery.
This is a huge deal for Seebohm-the-phenom, who is only 17 years old. In 2004, Seebohm won the Australian 100m national championship at only 14 years old, and was a member of Australia’s gold medal winning medley relay at that summer’s World Championship. In 2008, she came within .01 seconds of breaking a World Record (and broke the national and Commonwealth records) in the 50m backstroke at a high school meet, the Brisbane Catholic Schoolgirls Championships. Also that year, she became the first Australian woman to go under 1-minute in the 100 backstroke. All of this at only 15 years old.
Her meteoric rise has only accelerated since then, including winning her first individual world-wide championship medal at the 2009 World Championships, a bronze in the 100 backstroke.
To imagine a swimmer at this age earning such huge endorsement deals is simply incredible, and must be encouraging for the young Americans who have chosen to go pro rather than swim collegiately, like Chloe Sutton.