Sponsors line up for Kenny deal after Rio
Six-time gold medallist’s agent already has deals in the pipeline
ason Kenny is primed to sign the kind of major personal sponsorship deals that have eluded him until now, following his haul of three gold medals at the Rio Olympic Games.
Kenny was already the holder of three Olympic golds going into the Rio Games following a successful campaign in London in 2012. But in the intervening years he did not land a major sponsor, leading him to quip in interviews in July that he was not “pretty” enough to do so.
But his elevation to one of the most successful British Olympians alongside Chris Hoy is set to change that.
Speaking ahead of Kenny’s success, his manager Luke Lloyd Davies, CEO of Rocket Sports Management, said: “We have got things in the pipeline that will be signed after the Games. They are pretty major sponsors.”
He added that he anticipated landing further deals once Kenny had increased his medal haul. “Post-olympics it does tend to free up more time [for sponsorship activity] because it’s the start of another four-year Olympic cycle,” he said.
Lloyd Davies declined to give figures for any deals but other experts that Cycling Weekly spoke to said a six-time Olympic gold medallist could realistically command an annual income of around £250,000 from sponsorship and personal appearances.
Kenny himself cut a relaxed figure in the wake of his Rio success. When asked about whether he was expecting his previous lack of sponsorship earnings, he said: “It used to frustrate me a little bit seeing guys around me getting cars and things like that but I’m really happy with the way things have turned out.
“I like to fly under the radar a little bit and be able to live my life. It’s not as though I’m starving to death, it’s not like I can complain.” ands up who has got post-games depression. The last couple of weeks will surely have been truly amazing for any sports follower. For those directly involved with all the performances there will be a huge spectrum of feelings and emotions. Those who have excelled will no doubt be very happy with themselves.
For many, however, there will be frustration and heartache. For those athletes, their families and coaches, tears will probably play a big part in the grieving over an Olympics that would have, should have, or could have been. That’s what makes the Games so special. The chances come only every four years. If you mistime your performance, you’re ill, or injured, then that could be it.
This could have been those people’s last and final Olympics, and for some sports, the best in the world never actually become Olympic champion. For our track riders, however, that’s not a conversation that needs to be had. Just a brief glance at the record books will be enough to convince anyone that Britain’s presence on the podium was not just a lucky flash in the pan.
A few nations have raised a question mark over GB’S dominance yet again. Well maybe they should be questioning their own preparation. Take the men’s TT for instance.
Down in 29th place was the French rider Alexis Vuillermoz. At eight minutes 28 seconds down on the winner Fabian Cancellara, no amount of equipment choices would have brought him close to the podium. But that’s not the point. The sight of a rider from a Worldtour squad — and of a nation that holds cycling as a national sport — sprinting up the finish straight of Olympic time trial, on a standard road bike with clipon aero bars was, I’m afraid, just damn right ridiculous.
If these so-called power nations of cycling can’t even get this obvious equipment choice right, how on earth are they to stay competitive. Rather than raising their eyebrows, they should just turn up to any of our evening club TTS, where there’s a plethora of aero equipment. That should be enough to get them taking a long hard look in the mirror.
“The sight of a Worldtour rider sprinting up the finish straight of the Olympic time trial on a standard road bike was ridiculous”
Former double world track champion, Rob Hayles is a pundit for TV and radio. He’s also a coffee connoisseur and garden shed inventor