SBJ/July 23-29, 2012/In Depth

Setting the stage for London: Athletes to watch

The window of opportunity for post-Olympics endorsements has contracted over the last decade. Recognizable stars like Michael Phelps, Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor, Ryan Lochte, Allyson Felix, Cullen Jones and unexpected winners will land some new deals after the London Games, but most marketers will be watching closely in hopes of identifying the stars of tomorrow who they can showcase in Rio 2016 promotions. Here are six athletes who may rise to the top of that list:

Ashton Eaton
Photo by: Getty Images

The 24-year-old decathlete broke the world record at the Olympic trials last month and appears poised to have a breakout Games. With it unlikely that an American takes gold in the 100- or 200-meter sprints, Eaton is positioned to become the face of U.S. track and field and a popular choice for brands ahead of Rio 2016.

Missy Franklin
Photo by: Getty Images

The 17-year-old phenom is being hailed as the female Michael Phelps. She plans to keep her amateur status and enroll in college, but if she even comes close to matching the five gold medals she won at last year’s world championships, there will be a line of marketers waiting to sign her the moment she goes pro.

Jordyn Wieber &
Gabby Douglas
Gabby Douglas
Jordyn Wieber
Photo by: Getty Images (2)

Gymnastics at the 2008 Olympic Games produced two stars, Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, who both went on to sign deals with companies ranging from Warner Brothers to Bounty paper towels. Wieber (top) and Douglas, both 16, have a chance to replicate their predecessors’ success in the coming weeks and could make similar attempts to return for the next Olympics in 2016.

David Boudia
Photo by: Getty Images

The 23-year-old is Team USA’s best chance for a gold in diving since 2000. He finished second in the 2011 world championships and has increased the degree of difficulty in his dives in hopes that he can pull off an upset in London.

Yohan Blake
Photo by: Getty Images

Technically, he’s the world’s fastest man. The problem is that no one knows it. The 22-year-old Jamaican won the 100-meter dash at the 2011 world championships after his training partner, Usain Bolt, false started. Blake is looking to do that again in the coming weeks.

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