Seal Media Group, Australia
While some high-profile team members like Australia’s top swimmers had blue chip sponsors locked in before the Olympics, most have rejected a post-Games sugar hit and instead are chasing long-term deals leading into the 2024 Paris Olympics.The short turnaround between Games has heightened the need for most athletes to capitalise on their success, with only a slim window of opportunity available before their Tokyo triumphs fade in the memory for a sports-loving public about to feast on footy finals.Many Olympians have bypassed the traditional post-Games break and gone to work engaging managers, raising their profiles or heading back into international competition where prizemoney will support their Paris campaigns.When success is common though – Australia won 17 gold medals in Tokyo – translating it into income can be difficult, especially for those outside the digital domain.Australia’s closing ceremony flag bearer Mat Belcher became the country’s most successful Olympic sailor after winning gold in the men’s two-person dinghy with Will Ryan. Belcher has had not one commercial approach and believes his decision to stay off social media works against him in the eyes of sponsors.“It’s a personal thing but it comes at a cost when companies are looking for profile and product place, I am not that guy,” he said.Our rowers though are happy to embrace the commercial space, teaming up to capitalise on their gold medal wins in Tokyo to jointly market themselves as the “Oarsome Foursomes”.The men’s and women’s coxless fours have signed with Sydney sports management company SEL.The man who managed the original crew, James Erskine, now the chairman and CEO of SEL, is again behind taking the brand to market.“It was a great idea to market themselves together … it’s difficult with Covid at the moment because you can’t use athletes with lockdowns,” Erskine said.While most gold medallists are looking to cash in on their Tokyo success, some are just looking to recoup what it cost to compete.BMX Freestyle gold medallist Logan Martin decided not to defend his titles at the X Games in the US which were scheduled just weeks before the Olympics, where victory would’ve earned up to $50,000.“I made the decision not to go to X Games so I could stay at home in a good routine and go to the Olympics because I wanted to win gold,” he said.“It was definitely worth the sacrifice and all paid off.”Our golden water female stars – from whitewater warrior Jessica Fox to swimmers Ariarne Titmus and Emma McKeon – already had blue chip sponsors locked in, from Red Bull (Fox) to Harvey Norman (Titmus) to Speedo (McKeon), while Kaylee McKeown has signed with high-profile agent Mark Jones of Aspire Talent Group, who also manages Formula One racer Daniel Ricciardo.But it’s been tougher for breaststroke champion Zac Stubblety-Cook who’s already back studying and contemplating returning to work for the Australian Olympic Committee.Stubblety-Cook recently engaged a manager and was grateful just to be able to compete in Tokyo.“We were lucky enough just to be there, we were all in a bit of awe,” he said.WHAT HAPPENED NEXT FOR OUR OLYMPIC HEROES?Emma McKeon (Swimming)Our most decorated Olympian ever has existing sponsors such as Speedo, Coca-Cola and Nike and her management team are currently in confidential talks with a number of other big brands. She has extended her exclusive arrangement with Australian Olympic broadcaster Channel 7 and she is also heading to Europe this month to compete for London Roar in the International Swimming League. Kaylee McKeown(Swimming)Our backstroke queen of Tokyo made worldwide headlines with her “f*ck yeah” celebration but is still searching for long term sponsorship deals after signing with new manager Mark Jones, who boasts clients such as Aussie F1 star Daniel Ricciardo.Ariarne Titmus (Swimming)After her Olympic take-down of Katie Ledecky, Titmus is likely to be in demand, with manager David Malina of IMG saying she will be tactical in developing new relationships. Already boasting blue chip sponsors in Speedo, Harvey Norman, Bridgestone and Nike, Titmus has been announced as ambassador for the Melbourne Cup since returning from Tokyo. Zac Stubblety-Cook (Swimming)The breaststroke king has had to engage a manager since returning from Tokyo after plenty of media interest but he is yet to turn that into commercial return, instead catching up on study for his double degree in business and psychology. He is considering a return to work for the Australian Olympic Committee and will head overseas in November to compete in the International Swimming League. Jessica Fox (Slalom canoe)Our canoe slalom golden girl jetted straight off to Europe after Tokyo to rack up World Cup wins ahead of the world championships later this month. Fox has received multiple public speaking offers for when she returns to Australia, although she doesn’t know when that will be.Logan Martin (BMX freestyle)Martin sacrificed thousands to concentrate on his Tokyo bid and it looks to be paying off with sponsors as well, with the BMX bandit “very busy on the emails” since returning home. Martin is determined to defend his gold medal in 2024, so will also fork out to maintain his backyard skate park until then.Matt Wearn (Sailing, men’s one person dinghy)Matt Wearn is now in Europe and has had no interest from potential sponsors as he ponders his campaign towards Paris 2024. Wearn, who was also helped out by private backing in the lead up to Tokyo, has some coaching work on the horizon and is hoping to get paid work as a professional sailor when racing resumes in Australia.Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (Sailing, men’s two person dinghy)Closing ceremony flag bearer Mat Belcher is “back on the tools” as a full time dad on the Gold Coast while crewmate Will Ryan is in Europe seeking professional work in sailing. Belcher believes his decision not to engage in social media has cost him sponsorship opportunities as he prioritises family time over online networking.Keegan Palmer (Skateboarding) The skateboard whiz kid flew back to his base in the US after his stunning Olympic gold. Already boasting sponsors including Oakley, Boost Mobile and several skateboarding products, Palmer is only going to be more in demand on both sides of the Pacific after becoming the inaugural skateboarding champion in Tokyo.Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen (Kayaking)While Green remains in Europe ahead of the world sprint kayak championships next week, while van der Westhuyzen is already back at work with fund managers Skybound Fidelis Investments. Looking to power on to at least two more Olympics, van der Westhuyzen is set to link with a manager but said life had not changed much for the K2 pair.Women’s and men’s quad sculls (Rowing)The men’s and women’s rowing crews have teamed up to capitalise on their gold medal wins in Tokyo to jointly market themselves as the “Oarsome Foursomes”. The men’s and women’s coxless fours, who both won gold within 20 minutes of each other and set Olympic records at Sea Forest Waterway, have signed with Sydney sports management company SEL.