Phelps will make lots of money to do this from now on.
Since it's impossible to calculate just how much Phelps is worth now and what he might be worth in the future, I've used snippets of info I've gleaned off the web to give you a ballpark range. Essentially, this is the gold mine Michael Phelps has discovered, likely making him pretty wealthy the rest of his life. According to ESPN:
Entering the Beijing Games, Phelps was reportedly earning an estimated $5 million from corporate endorsements, with deals from companies like AT&T, Visa, PowerBar, HiltonHotels, Omega and Speedo.
According to the Wall Street Journal, who interviewed Phelps's agent, Peter Carlisle:
Carlisle expects Phelps' current annual earnings of between $3 million to $5 million to at least double.
"What is the value of eight golds in Beijing before a prime-time audience in the U.S?" Carlisle told the newspaper. "I'd say $100 million over the course of his lifetime."
Oh, and about those endorsement possibilities. Obviously a corporate giant like Nike wants a piece of that action:
Howard Bloom, who teaches sports management at Algonquin College in Ottawa and has worked with several Olympic athletes, says the key decision for Mr. Phelps will be whether to renew his contract with Speedo, the swimsuit maker that sponsors Mr. Phelps and offered him $1 million if he won seven gold medals.
"Michael Phelps would be worth $40 or $50 million to Nike," Mr. Bloom said. "He could literally allow them to launch a massive swimwear company, and I think you are going to see an incredible bidding war for him."
There's more, too:
Phelps also will be the spokesman for the beverage PureSport, which is about to launch its first national ad campaign with the swimmer. Phelps and the rest of the men's and women's U.S. swim teams are receiving free pizza and pasta for a year from Pizza Hut. Another one of his sponsors, Kellogg Co., is also looking into possible deals. Plus, he's hearing from potential consumers online -- reportedly 795,000 people have signed up as fans of Phelps on Facebook.
Basically, unless he's a total fool (which I don't think he is) Phelps is going to cash in big time. I didn't even include the types of appearance fees Phelps could demand speaking for corporate events, signing autographs somewhere, and other things of that nature. Although I could totally see Phelps being the type of person who develops some kind of gambling issue and loses everything. He is from Baltimore, after all. I think we've all seen enough episodes of The Wire to no longer overlook that fact.