Simone Biles’ Olympic Retreat Leaves Sponsors in the Lurch

Simone Biles
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles ‘ hasty and unexpected retreat from the Tokyo Olympics has left a list of sponsors coming up short this week.

On Tuesday, USA Gymnastics announced that the 24-year-old Biles had removed herself from competition “in order to focus on her mental health.”

Simone Biles

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

However, as the world’s top gymnast headed to the locker room, she also sunk the hopes of a list of sponsors who hoped to cash in on her great Olympics success.

At least one of those sponsors quickly came out to support Biles in her quest for mental health.

“We stand by Simone and support her well-being both in and out of competition,” said Kyle Andrew, Chief Brand Officer of women’s sportswear maker Athleta. “Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself. We are inspired by her leadership today and are behind her every step of the way.”

 Simone Biles of Team United States supports her team mates by carrying their chalk after pulling out after the vault during the Women's Team Final on day four on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

(Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

But there are many others who will now be unable to capitalize on Biles’ Olympics appearance fully. That list includes:

Nabisco

Biles had recently appeared in an Oreo cookie ad for the snack food giant and had also partnered with Nabisco for its Team USA “Snack Together. Win Together” campaign.

Visa

The credit company launched its “Team Visa” campaign earlier this year, featuring many athletes, including Biles. Andrea Fairchild, Visa’s senior VP of global sponsorship strategy, said that the company supports Biles’ “difficult, but incredibly brave decision” to quit the Games.

Uber Eats

Biles appeared in an ad with Queer Eye cast member Jonathan Van Ness last year, and the food-delivery app company had hoped to cash in with its association with the gymnast for the Olympics, as well.

United Airlines

The airline is an official sponsor of Team USA, but the company also specifically endorsed Biles and several Paralympic athletes.

Hershey’s

The chocolate giant jumped in with Biles early, having first signed with her in 2016 when it launched its “Hello From Home” campaign during the Rio Olympics.

Kellogg’s

Cereal maker Kellogg’s also signed Biles in 2016 ahead of the Rio Olympics and since then has added her to its No Kid Hungry campaign.

Mattress Firm

The mattress seller joined with Biles in 2016 to have Biles support their Mattress Firm Foster Kids program.

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