Sporting equipment giant Adidas has announced its continued support for swimmer Ian Thorpe, caught in a doping investigation.
In a release issued on April 13 the company said: “adidas has the utmost respect for Ian Thorpe and all of his incredible achievements. For more than eight years, we have enjoyed a highly successful relationship with Ian and hope that this relationship continues long into the future.”
Adidas has stuck by their man through a year off, mystery illness, allegations over his sexuality, and now doping allegations.
“We, like everyone else, await the findings of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Like swimming fans the world over, we hope he emerges from this stressful period in his life with his reputation intact,” Adidas said.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Adidas has, in the past, cut ties athletes found guilty of doping violations and banned by their respective federations. They include the British sprinter Dwain Chambers, linked to the steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), and whose contract with adidas was reportedly worth an annual £100,000 ($240,000). What it does about a tarnished Thorpe over the long term is similar to the branding challenge posed by a sullied politician already in office. What Audi, Yakult, TV Asahi and Omega and Foxtel do in the way of damage control remains to be seen.