The Value of Missing the Olympic Team

Every swimmer’s ultimate goal is to make the Olympic Team. Most of us aren’t talented enough to even sniff that level of success and have to set lower, more attainable, and still worthy goals. Afterall, the core of swimming is “being better than your best was yesterday”.

At the end of the day though, the Olympics is the pinnacle. With such a small roster though, some incredibly fast, successful swimmers are left home every year. In the modern Olympic era, that’s not always a bad thing.

Get this for irony: in the two weeks during the Olympic Games, those who missed the team can make more money than many who made the team. For those who made the team, the payoff can be long-term of course, but as far as revenue earned during those two weeks, the ones who missed come out ahead.

That’s because former Olympians, who missed this year’s team, are still eligible to promote brands, as those competing are. For companies who don’t really care which Olympians they run out, as long as they’re Olympians, this can be a solid payday.

Garrett Weber-Gale, for example, won two Olympic gold medals in Beijing, and was a part of the now-famous Jason Lezak come-from-behind relay that knocked off the French. Since then, he’s done a wonderful job of growing his personal brand. He’s still close enough to that Olympic appearance that people know who he is, but he came up just short of the squad in Omaha this year.

Weber-Gale will be in London this week promoting Hilton Hotels. That’s something that even superstars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte can’t do.

But because Weber-Gale didn’t make the Olympic team, the IOC has no grounds on which to prevent his participation in these programs.

Poking a bit of fun at the IOC rules, Nike has produced the commercial above, that travels to different world-wide cities named “London” (but not THE London) and uses amateur athletes.

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2 Comments on "The Value of Missing the Olympic Team"

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That was awesome!

I love the kid jumping off the high dive at the end of that. Looks like me at diving. 10.0!!!!


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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