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Golden pay day for Olympic athletes

Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 02:56

Aug. 9 - Olympic gold medalists look to cash in on their London 2012 success as companies eye them for lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals. Ciara Sutton reports.

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Jessica Ennis - gold medal Greg Rutherford - gold medal Laura Trott- two gold medals. The young athletes adding to Britain's medal tally are being hurtled into the media spotlight. Cashing in on that is an opportunity and a challenge as former tennis gold medal winner Boris Becker knows only too well. He's recently had to deny rumours of hardship but admits he has made his success pay. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TENNIS PLAYER, BORIS BECKER, SAYING: "Most athletes realise that once the Olympic Games is over and you've done well, there is the possibility to actually be financially rewarded for it." The youngest ever winner of Wimbledon and holder of six grand slams has been the face of several ad campaigns. 20 years after winning Olympic gold he's still making money from tennis - as an ambassador for Visit Britain and a professional public speaker. For the stars of the 2012 Games getting the right deal is vital. Jonathan Marks represents a sporting hall of fame including cyclist Bradley Wiggins. He says the contracts offered after a big win should be treated with caution. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MTC, JONATHAN MARKS, SAYING: "You may get judged very quickly by the wrong TV advert or the wrong campaign. And a lot of the good will you have built up on the field of play suddenly disappears because you are not looked at credibly. But with most track and field athletes not on fixed-term contracts, endorsement deals can make up the majority of their earnings. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MTC, JONATHAN MARKS, SAYING: "There have been plenty of gold medalists who have come out of an Olympic games and maybe in London who will say, look I've got this, this is what I have done, what now? And they have been disappointed or their expectations haven't been met." But Team GB's current poster- girl Jessica Ennis is reportedly set to treble her annual earnings to at least 3 million pounds following her win in the Heptathlon. She was already one of the most endorsed athletes and says her contracts with companies such as Olay, are essential. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLYMPIC HEPTATHLON CHAMPION, JESSICA ENNIS, ON ROLE OF SPONSORSHIP, SAYING: "Sponsorship is really important as an athlete, you know you train really hard and to have that support from your sponsors is brilliant and I've been here today with Olay and they've looked after me, I had a lovely pampering day and it's just really nice when you have the support in the last few months leading into the games and after." Usain Bolt is the ultimate example of the value of gold. Since his sprint double in 2008 his earnings rose to around 20 million dollars a year - that's not bad for a few seconds on the track. Glory again this year will no doubt bring in yet more offers. PTC Thousands of companies have been watching events here in London with great interest. They're keen to spot the next Usain Bolt, well aware that a good sponsorship deal could be a golden opportunity for them too. Ciara Sutton, Reuters.

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Golden pay day for Olympic athletes

Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 02:56