Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 6
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Going for Gold

U.S. marketing stars heading into the Pyeongchang Games
Photo: getty images

Jamie Anderson

Snowboarding
Agents: Amy Stanton and Denege Prudhomme, Stanton & Co.
Portfolio: Audi, Beats, Comcast, Dakine, Dragon Herbs, Gnu, GoPro, Kettle Brand, MilkPEP, Monster, Navitas, Oakley, Procter & Gamble, Ralph Lauren, Sierra at Tahoe, United, Visa
Breakdown: The 2014 Sochi slopestyle gold medalist has been a fixture on the snowboarding circuit for more than a decade, but also has found success as a health-and-wellness spokeswoman for lifestyle brands. She burnished her branding with a 2014 appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice,” and demonstrating her clout, she more recently negotiated an exception to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard deal with Toyota that allowed her to sign a lucrative personal deal with Audi. 

Photo: getty images

Lindsey Vonn

Alpine skiing
Agent:
Mark Ervin, IMG
Portfolio: Briko, Head, Leki, Oakley, Procter & Gamble/Bounty, Red Bull, Rolex, TheraBand, Under Armour, Topps
Breakdown: Easily the country’s most famous female Winter Olympian, Vonn has been in the public eye since making her first Olympics in 2002. She missed the 2014 Sochi Games with an injury and has had several other setbacks, but she appears to be healthy heading into Pyeongchang. In November, Under Armour released a signature Vonn ski apparel line, yet again showing that Vonn is capable of anchoring major initiatives, not merely sticking with the usual Olympic marketing playbook.

Photo: getty images

Gus Kenworthy

Freeskiing
Agent:
Michael Spencer, Wasserman
Portfolio: 24 Hour Fitness, Atomic, Chobani, Comcast, Deloitte, Monster, Procter & Gamble/Head & Shoulders, Ralph Lauren, Samsung, Smith, Toyota, United, Visa
Breakdown: Kenworthy is the big breakout marketing star of these Games, adding 10 new deals with Olympic sponsors in the past year. In addition to his Sochi silver medal, camera-ready smile and outgoing personality, he’s perhaps the most prominent openly gay athlete in America right now, which has only helped as brands look for a diversity message. (Editor’s note: Kenworthy had not qualified for the U.S. team as of press time. The team was scheduled to be finalized Jan. 21.)

Photo: getty images

Elana Meyers Taylor

Bobsled
Agent:
Patrick Quinn, Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners
Portfolio: 24 Hour Fitness, BMW, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Topps
Breakdown: Hoping to medal at a third consecutive Olympics, the women’s bobsled pilot brings a natural grace and cheer to her work as a spokeswoman. Brands love her business sense, too — her post-athletic career goal is to become CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and she understands the finer points of the corporate side of the Games.

Photo: getty images

Nathan Chen

Figure skating
Agent:
Yuki Saegusa, IMG
Portfolio: Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Nike, United Airlines
Breakdown: Chen doesn’t stack up to some others in terms of raw number of deals, but watch this space closely. He’s just 18 years old and his precocity in dealing with the media and brands is surpassed only by his precocity on the ice. Skating experts believe he’s a serious contender for a gold medal. If he delivers, his stock will skyrocket.

Photo: getty images

Hilary Knight

Ice hockey
Agents:
Dan Levy and Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Wasserman
Portfolio: Bauer, Chobani, Comcast, Deloitte, GoPro, Nike, Nulo Pet Food, Red Bull, Visa, Topps
Breakdown: The best-known member of the women’s hockey team, Knight is a two-time silver medalist and seven-time world champion. She’s also a vocal advocate for gender parity in sports, and played a key role in the women’s team’s successful gambit last spring to improve its compensation by threatening to sit out the world championships.

Photo: getty images

Shaun White

Snowboarding
Agents:
Chris Hart and Ryan Hayden, United Talent Agency
Portfolio: Air + Style, Beats, Big Bear Mountain Resort, Mammoth Resorts, go90, Halfpops
Breakdown: A two-time halfpipe Olympic gold medalist, White is synonymous with his sport and is showing little evidence of decline in his 30s. Since childhood, he’s been a sports marketing star and a lifestyle icon, racking up an extraordinary range of sponsorships and other business deals. He’s been the majority owner of the Air + Style snowboarding/concert tour since 2014 and acquired a minority stake in Mammoth Resorts in 2016. 

Photo: getty images

Jessie Diggins

Cross country skiing
Agent:
Patrick Quinn, Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners
Portfolio: Bose, Bioenergy Ribose, Comcast, Hershey, Kate’s Real Food, Nuun, Podiumwear, Rudy Project, Salomon, Sledge, Slumberland, Smucker’s/Folgers/Milkbone, Swix, Topps
Breakdown: Part of the women’s team that appears to be on the verge of delivering the United States’ first Olympic medal in the sport, Diggins has quietly amassed a large sponsorship roster during her nine-year career. This year, she’s added blue-chip domestic Olympic partners Comcast, Hershey and J.M. Smucker Co. to her large endemic roster, and has grabbed coverage in media outlets unaccustomed to cross country skiers, like Cosmopolitan.
 

Photo: getty images

Chloe Kim

Snowboarding
Agents:
Lowell Taub and Lis Moss, CAA Sports
Portfolio: Burton, Laneige, Mammoth, Mondelez, Monster, Nike, Oakley, Samsung, Toyota, Visa
Breakdown: You’d be hard-pressed to create a more promising brand spokeswoman in a lab. Born in Long Beach, Kim oozes California cool, speaks three languages, is still just 17 years old and has extended family still living in the host country of South Korea. And by the way, she’s no up-and-comer — she’s a gold-medal favorite who would have qualified for the Sochi Games at 13 if not for minimum age restrictions.

Photo: getty images

Mikaela Shiffrin

Alpine skiing
Agent:
Kilian Albrecht
Portfolio: Atomic, Barilla, Bose, Leki, Longines, Oakley, Red Bull, Reusch, Visa, Westin riverfront athletic club
Breakdown: The 22-year-old has not signed many new deals specifically for the Olympics, because she spent most of her time trying to evolve from a slalom specialist to an all-purpose contender. But she’s already got a full roster of long-term corporate relationships, one gold medal and could leave Pyeongchang with a few more. Expect to see Shiffrin for a long time to come.