Top 10 Most Marketable Athletes in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games
Image courtesy of Flickr
The temperature outside is dropping and the sense of national pride is about to ramp up. That can only mean one thing, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia are just around the corner. Let’s take a look at some of the most marketable athletes who will be featured in the upcoming winter games.
1. Shaun White (USA) – Snowboarding
He already has endorsements with Target, Burton, Hewlett-Packard, Oakley, Red Bull, Ubisoft and Adio. Shaun’s authenticity and creativity allows his endorsements to stick with his target audience as consistently as he lands some of the most difficult tricks.
Shaun’s Twitter engages and entertains (to say the least) over 1.2 million followers.
The “Flying Tomato’s” wide reach and engagement earn him the gold spot on our countdown.
2. Lindsey Vonn (USA) – Ski Racing
The most accomplished American skier in history has her work cut out for her after recovering from knee surgery following a crash in February at The World Championships.
However, that hasn’t stopped Proctor & Gamble from adding Lindsey to their “Thank you, Mom” campaign. Rolex, Red Bull, Head, Oakley, Under Armour and the California Milk Processor Board (makers of the famous “Got Milk? ads) are backing Vonn as well.
“You better believe it,” said Vonn when asked if she would be on the medal stand in Sochi. If so, she can add it to her gold and bronze she won in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
3. Alex Ovechkin (Russia) – Ice Hockey
Ovechkin was named one of the official ambassadors of the Winter Olympic Games and he was also the first Russian torchbearer for the games. He is the host country’s most famous and recognizable athlete. And oh, by the way, did we mention he is also one of the best hockey players in the world?
Endorsement deals with Nike, Bauer, Gatorade, Verizon, Capital One Financial and Kraft Canada reflect “Ovi’s” marketability. The Winter Olympic Games are sure to provide ample face time for this hometown star.
4. Sidney Crosby (Canada) – Ice Hockey
Is it even possible to top his overtime game winning goal in the gold medal game against team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?
The captain of team Canada is already the most recognizable and marketable hockey player in the world. “Sid the Kid” earns a league leading $4 million a year off the ice through endorsements with Reebok, Tim Hortons, Bell Canada, Frameworth and Gatorade.
Crosby is one of the most marketable athletes as he looks to lead his squad to a second straight gold medal.
5. Kim Yu-Na (South Korea) – Figure Skating
The South Korean will likely go down as one of the most decorated and greatest figure skaters, EVER! She is a superstar in South Korea; amassing endorsements with Nike, Korean Air, Samsung, Kookmin Bank, Hyundai and many more.
At only 23 years old, she will be looking to beat her own world records in Combined Total, Short Program and Free Skate from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and solidify herself as a legend, and an endorsement giant for years to come.
6. Torin Yater-Wallace (USA) – Freestyle Skiing
Ever since he became the youngest medalist in Winter X Games history, things have changed for Yater-Wallace. “Everything has changed,” Yater-Wallace told TODAY.com. “Four years ago I was in high school, not making any money – just a rookie skiing ’cause I loved it. Now it’s been a world championship medal, six X Games medals, so much success and so many sponsorships. My life has completely turned around.”
Those sponsorships he is referring to? Giants like Target, RedBull, Kellogg’s, Giro, Armada, Electric and Monster Cables. With Olympic success, more endorsements are surely on the way for this fast rising star.
7. Ashley Wagner (USA) – Figure Skating
She was born on a U.S. Army Base in Heidelberg, Germany, but lives in and skates for the United States.
Wagner is sponsored by Nike, Covergirl and Pandora. She also has endorsements with BP and Hilton HHonors.
This two time U.S. National Champion could be poised to steal the show at her Olympic debut.
8. Ted Ligety (USA) – Alpine Ski Racing
Ted “Shred” took gold in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
He already knows a thing or two about marketability having co-founded Shred optics.
Ligety is sponsored by Kellogg’s for the Olympic year and is putting that endorsement to good use.
He also has endorsements with Coca-Cola, Audi, Head, P&G’s DayQuil and NyQuil and Putnam Investments, where he recently spent time practicing a hobby of his, trading bonds.
9. Rosalind Groenewoud (Canada) – Freestyle Skiing
This is Groenewoud’s first Olympic appearance. Although if she wins, it won’t be the first time Rosalind is tasting gold, as she won gold in the SuperPipe at the Winter X Games.
When she isn’t on the slopes, Rosalind spends her time studying math and physics at Quest University. Groenewoud has endorsements with Target, Spyder, Kombi and was named to the Proctor & Gamble “Thank you, Mom” Olympic campaign.
10. Evan Lysacek (USA) – Figure Skating
Lysacek has quite a resume having already taken gold in the singles at the last Olympics, a World Championship in 2009 and two U.S. National Championships. He was also runner-up along with partner Anna Trebunskaya on Dancing with the Stars.
Lysacek is partnered with Smucker’s, Citi, Coca-Cola and Ralph Lauren. However, his biggest supporter may be his mom as seen here in this Proctor & Gamble endorsement.
These athletes are just as sure to deliver great endorsement results.
Gracie Gold (USA) – Figure Skating
When you’re a figure skater and your last name is Gold, it makes sense to endorse jewelry for Pandora.
At 18 years of age, she likely hasn’t reached the pinnacle of her game yet. Still, Smucker’s, Nike, Visa and Covergirl felt she would be a great endorser for them.
Nick Goepper (USA) – Freestyle Skiing
Take a ride with him down the slopes and you’ll quickly realize why iON Camera and RedBull are perfect endorsements for this Winter X Games gold medalist. Can Goepper continue his success at the Olympics? Endorsements with Smith Optics, Dalbello, Kicker and Hillcrest Sports suggest he can.
Patrick Kane (USA) – Ice Hockey
Kane has already won two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy and Olympic silver in 2010. He showed why he is considered the best stickhandler in the game with this Bauer endorsement.
Shani Davis (USA) – Speed Skating
In 2006, Davis became the first black athlete from any nation to win a gold medal in an individual sport at the Olympic Winter Games by winning the 1000 m. He followed that by setting a world record en route to winning another gold medal in the 1000 m at the 2010 Winter Games.
He is the inspiration for the character Frozone from The Incredibles and also inspired the creation of the DC Inner City Excellence (DC-ICE), which mentors and supports youth development. Davis has endorsement deals with Nike and Actemium.
Steven Stamkos (Canada) – Ice Hockey
Stamkos sported a purple tie and lent his mug to the NHL and Vanity Fair’s Hockey Fights Cancer partnership. More endorsements are sure to accompany his deals with Nike and Tissot watches as he becomes one of hockey’s best scorers.
Meryl Davis & Charlie White (USA) – Ice Dancing
After taking silver in the 2010 Olympics, winning world championships in 2011 and 2013 and five straight U.S. titles, Meryl and Charlie look to be the favorites to take gold this time around.
Both skaters attend the University of Michigan and although their routine might suggest otherwise, they insist they are not a couple.
Davis and White are sponsored by P&G’s Puffs brand. “Figure skaters, it’s pretty well documented what our training program is like,” said White. “We have to wake up super early and go into the freezing cold. You definitely want some comfortable tissues there.” Although they do not have any other major endorsements, if they are able take gold and capture the hearts of Americans, that could change.
Steven Holcomb (USA) – Bobsledding
This former Utah Army National Guard Combat Engineer was the driver of the 4-Man USA-1 Olympic gold medal winning U.S. bobsledding team in 2010. Steven’s story is even more incredible considering he nearly went blind after battling keratoconus, a degenerative eye disorder. Holcomb currently has an endorsement with Advocare.
Create your own gold medal worthy endorsements
The Winter Olympic Games are less than 100 days away, so now is a great time to sign up for free with opendorse and select the medalists you want to endorse your brand.