Gold Medal-Winning U.K. Long Jumper Frustrated By Loss Of Nike Sponsorship
While many would "assume an Olympic gold medal is a passport to a raft of lucrative endorsement deals, the reality is that" U.K. long jumper Greg Rutherford does "not have a single sponsor to his name," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Even Rutherford's "long-standing kit contract with Nike" has ended. Rutherford said that without any income other than "competition appearance fees and prize money, ... TV appearances and speaking engagements have become a necessity to pay the mortgage." He said, "I’m not poor. I’d be lying if I said I was. But if people believe that the reason I go on TV is because I love the sound of my own voice, that is completely and utterly wrong." Rutherford admits that the end of his Nike deal has "come as a 'complete kick in the teeth.'" Rather than being "rewarded with an enhanced Nike deal, Rutherford was shocked to be offered a reduced contract on terms he was unable to accept." He said, "They offered me a contract but the clauses were such that, by the end of this year, I would end up earning probably less than I would have done on my old junior contract. ... To sign a contract for a lower amount with horrible clauses, why would you do that?" Rutherford added, "It’s as if they’re saying, 'You’ve done really well at the Olympics but you’ll never do it again and so we’re not interested.'" Rutherford now has plans to "set up his own clothing brand, 'GRavity.'" He said, "If you’re wearing kit from your own start-up company, then you don’t have to feel you’re being controlled." Hart notes "it is not only Rutherford’s Nike deal that has disappeared." He had "affiliations with a few other brands in the run-up to the Olympics but no longer receives any income from them" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/31).