Becoming an Olympic icon pays big


What's the value of the eight gold medals swimmer Michael Phelps just won at the Beijing Olympics? According to his agent, about $100 million over his lifetime. His agent says he's been fielding about 50 phone calls a day from people wanting to court Phelps and ultimately get him to endorse their products. Book deals and movie deals are being pitched as well, and it's clear that Michael's life (and his wallet) will never be the same.

Phelps is being offered all sorts of free things like pizza and dental work. (Does he need free stuff if he's instantly become a multi-millionaire?) And there are those pitching bobbleheads and other novelties with his name on them.

He currently has an endorsement gig with Speedo, who offered him $1 million if he won seven gold medals. Michael's endorsements prior to this Olympics were bringing in $3 to $5 million a year, but that amount will surely skyrocket. A sports management expert seems to think that Nike would pony up $40 or $50 million to get Phelps on their team.

Let's hope that Michael has good representation that can help him get the best deals possible. Then let's hope that he lives up to his iconic status and is a good role model for children. He's an amazing athlete who has accomplished so much, and it would be wonderful for him to be a positive inspiration to Americans for years to come (while also getting filthy rich).

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.