More from the Olympic brand police. Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall Jr. has been fined $5,000 by the swimming federation for not wearing the team uniform to the starting blocks before his 50 meter freestyle race in Athens. The team uniform is a Speedo sponsored robe, but Hall wore his own, sponsored by boxing gear manufacturer Everlast.
Sponsors must be able to protect themselves against ambush marketing, even if fining a gold medalist rarely will win your brand any sympathy. In the case of Hall, this doesn’t just seem to be about rebellion, but also about revenge. Apparently he lost a lucrative sponsor deal with Speedo after testing positive for marijuana a few years after the 1996 Olympics.