US swimming superstar Katie Ledecky has signed a record endorsement deal with Californian sportswear company TYR as she focuses efforts on a professional career.
The 21-year-old turned pro in March and TYR said its agreement represents the most lucrative partnership in the history of the swim industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but ESPN.com said it is worth $7m (€5.84m) and will run through the 2024 summer Olympic Games in Paris.
Matt DiLorenzo, chief executive of TYR Sport, said: “In having had the opportunity to watch Katie grow as an athlete, we could not be more impressed by her determination and humility both in and out of the water. We are confident that in working together we will create products that not only take performance to the next level, but ultimately change the course of history.”
Ledecky (pictured) has been named World Swimmer of the Year four times and has broken 14 world records. She has earned a total of six Olympic medals, including five golds for her swims in the 200m, 400m, 800m, and 4x200m freestyle.
The agreement was announced shortly after Forbes published a list of the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world. The list failed to include a single female sports star, again shining a light on the issue of pay for male and female athletes.
Ledecky told the USA Today newspaper: “Reflecting on it the last couple of days, we kind of realised how together we’re making this statement, and it’s an important statement. I think TYR has recognised that excellence has no gender. I’m motivated to continue to prove that every day. Hopefully it is an inspiration to all people, especially women and girls, to embrace their value, to dream big and to work hard because big things can happen.”