Diving for Dollars

Sizing up the financial future of gay gold medalist Matthew Mitcham.

BY Neal Broverman

September 09 2008 11:00 PM ET

All the world
fell in love when diver Matthew Mitcham won gold at the
Olympics in Beijing. And who could blame them? The blond
20-year-old Australian is incredibly charming.

After the first
rush of winning gold, most athletes look forward to
another surge—in lucrative endorsement deals. And
Mitcham could see about $1 million in endorsements,
says Jim Andrews, senior vice president of IEG, a
company that advises businesses on the right sponsorships
and celebrity spokespeople for their brand. That
figure would likely have been higher if Mitcham
hadn’t already come out of the closet, Andrews
adds.

“There
certainly are companies that would be hesitant to sign
[Mitcham] because he’s out,” he says.
“If you have a choice between him and a
[straight] gold-winning athlete, most companies would
probably go with the straight one.”

But Mitcham has a
lot going for him. “He’s a gay hero,”
Andrews says. Mitcham also takes to the camera like a
duck to water. And he’s the right nationality.

“The
Australian market is more amenable to gay athletes than the
American,” Andrews adds “He’ll probably
be easier to [promote] there.”

Whatever he pulls
in, it should finance his next four years of training,
after which Mitcham is expected to dive into the London
Olympics.

Tags: Sports

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