Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
British, 23, Athletics
Heptathlon’s crowd favourite out to make amends
Representatives: M&C Saatchi Merlin
Key partners: Nike, Nissan, Science in Sport
2015 ranking: 9
For Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the British favourite popularly known as ‘KJT’, the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing should have represented a handing down of the heptathlon baton from her friend, mentor and sometime rival Jessica Ennis-Hill. Instead, three calamitous fouls in the long jump led to a disqualification from her strongest event and ultimately saw Johnson-Thompson finish in 28th place, with Ennis-Hill going on to reclaim the title she had previously won in 2009.
A return of a single gold medal at senior level, won at last year’s European Indoor Championships in Prague, is less than what could have been expected from Johnson-Thompson’s considerable talents after almost half a decade at the top level. Having burst on to the scene as a wide-eyed and irrepressible teenager four years ago at her home Olympics, 2016 is shaping up as a make-or-break year for the youngster, whose career might be reaching maturity at just the right moment.
As she enters her mid-20s, Rio’s Olympic Games look to be perfectly timed for Johnson-Thompson to turn her bags of potential into medals, and her media-friendly public image into something brands will really clamour to be associated with. AN
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