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
South Korean, 27, Speed Skating
The likely face of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics
Representatives: Brion Sports Marketing Group
Key partners: Kia, KB Financial
2015 ranking: New entry
South Korea will host its first home Olympic Games in 30 years in 2018 and it has, at times, been a surprisingly arduous journey to the finish line. It seems fitting, then, that the face of PyeongChang looks likely to be a star of one of the toughest disciplines on ice: long-distance speed skater Lee Sang Hwa.
Champion in the 500 metres in the Vancouver and Sochi Games, Lee will be going for a hat-trick of golds in her homeland in what could be a farewell Olympic appearance at 29. Hers will not be the only noteworthy Korean story on the speed-skating rink – not least with Viktor Ahn, formerly Ahn Hyun-soo, set for a controversial return in the colours of his adopted Russia – but she will be a real home favourite.
Lee has plenty of form as a brand endorser, with long-term partnerships with Korean carmaker Kia and bank KB Financial, and was one of the country’s most sought-after athletes in the build-up to Sochi. Having already been named an official ambassador for PyeongChang 2018, she looks set to be in similar demand this time around. EC
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