LOS ANGELES, November 6. SPEEDO, the top-selling swimwear brand in the world, announced the extension of an endorsement deal with swimming superstar Michael Phelps through 2009.
This summer, the 18-year old American set an astonishing eight world records in just 41 days.
The deal is Speedo's richest swimwear sponsorship of all-time and includes a $1 million bonus if Phelps earns a record-equaling seven Olympic gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games, in Athens, Greece, August 13 – 29, or the 2008 Olympic Games, in Beijing, China. The new contract also extends Speedo’s contribution to Michael’s collegiate education.
Phelps commented: "Just like most swimmers, I haven’t competed in anything but Speedo even when I was a little kid and I certainly wanted that to continue because their suit and equipment innovation is simply the best. Truthfully, I have been humbled by Speedo’s belief in me since our relationship began in 2001. I’m excited to be part of their team for many years.”
“For 75 years, Speedo has always been closely tied with the world’s best swimmers,” said Simon Rider, President, Speedo International. “Our relationship with Michael continues that trend – but at an entirely new level. That’s because he’s taken the sport of swimming to another level with accomplishments in his young career that seemed unimaginable just a few months ago.”
“Michael will be the face of Speedo’s marketing efforts heading into the Athens Olympics,” said Joe Gromek, President and CEO, The Warnaco Group, Inc., Speedo North America’s parent company. “But just as importantly, Michael will continue to be a key part of our behind-the-scenes team with respect to product development.”
Phelps is the world record holder in the 200m butterfly, 200m individual medley, and the 400m individual medley. In July, at the FINA World Championships, he broke five individual world records – the first to ever accomplish this feat at a single international meet – and seven American records on his way to three gold medals and 2 silver medals.
At 15, Phelps became the youngest male swimmer to qualify for the American Olympic team since 1932, when he earned a trip to the 2000 Sydney Games. He was also the youngest male swimmer to break a world record and the youngest United States male swimmer to turn professional.
Although his Athens program is not finalized, Phelps will look to compete in multiple events in multiple strokes, distinguishing himself as the most versatile swimmer on the planet. The U.S. Olympic team will be determined at the 2004 Olympic Swimming Trials, in Long Beach, Ca., July 7 –14.