Olympics: Gold Mining

How much are corporate sponsors willing to shell out for Olympic medal winners?

In the run-up to the Summer Olympics, swimming phenomenon Michael Phelps has been--to borrow a phrase from Visa, one of his sponsors--everywhere he wants to be. Since the 19-year-old became the first person to break five individual world records at a single meet last summer, his mighty fine physique has graced a slew of magazine covers (including those of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, ESPN and TIME), thousands of credit cards (Chase started issuing them in April) and an unprecedented six national TV commercials that feature the hydrophilic Olympic hopeful doing everything from racing a dolphin (for Argent Mortgage) to swimming laps across the...

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