SBJ/March 11-17, 2013/Labor and Agents

Douglas latest addition to CAA Olympic roster

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Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, has left her agent Sheryl Shade and signed with CAA Sports.

Douglas is the latest in a series of high-profile Olympians to change representation and sign with CAA after a recent Olympic Games. Snowboarder Shaun White left IMG after the Vancouver Olympics, and swimmer Ryan Lochte left his manager, Erika Wright, after the London Games.

Gabby Douglas joins Shaun White and Ryan Lochte at CAA.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
The three are part of a growing roster of Olympic athletes represented by CAA. Lowell Taub, who leads the Olympic representation efforts, also works with track star Sanya Richards-Ross and skiers Julia Mancuso and Bode Miller.

CAA had no comment for this story.

Since White became a client, the agency has negotiated several new deals for the snowboarder, including agreements with BF Goodrich and Stride for his own line of gum. It hasn’t announced any new deals for Lochte, but the swimmer will star in a six-episode reality show on E! Entertainment.

Douglas was a relatively unknown and unheralded gymnast when she burst onto the national scene a year ago by upsetting teammates Jordyn Wieber and Alexandra Raisman at the AT&T American Cup. She subsequently signed with Shade, who has worked with Olympic gymnasts ranging from Shannon Miller to Shawn Johnson.

By then, most Olympic sponsors had signed athletes for their London marketing programs, and Douglas didn’t have many endorsement opportunities. But Shade managed to land Douglas and her mom a deal with Procter & Gamble.

After Douglas won two gold medals, one in the individual all-around competition and another with her team, she vaulted into the national spotlight. Buzz Bissinger profiled her in Vanity Fair and she appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Michelle Obama.

Over the last eight months, Shade negotiated deals for Douglas with Nike, YoCrunch yogurt, Nintendo and OPI, an artificial nail company. She also finalized a book deal with Zondervan, a HarperCollins company, to publish Douglas’ memoir “Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith.” The book made The New York Times best-seller list.

CAA has been pitching Douglas to other companies in recent weeks. It’s unclear what categories or opportunities it plans to pursue for Douglas.

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