Flying Squirrel stock soars after double gold

Fri Aug 3, 2012 12:29pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

LONDON (Reuters) - Not every athlete who wins a gold medal at the London Games will strike it rich. Most will return home to a good pat on the back and a part-time job, scratching out a sporting career.

American Gabby Douglas will not be among them.

The 16-year-old American gymnast, nicknamed the "Flying Squirrel", arrived in London as an unknown commodity and will leave with her stock soaring - rebranded as the newest Olympic sweetheart, with millions in sponsorships and endorsements awaiting her at home.

Armed with a cute nickname, a megawatt smile, a compelling back-story and two gold medals, with maybe more to come in apparatus finals, fame and fortune await the perky teenager who only five months ago was an outsider to make the U.S. team.

The race to lock up deals with the Flying Squirrel will rival any at the Olympics stadium.

Cereal maker Kellogg Co, a U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor, was among the first out of the starting blocks, getting Douglas's smiling face on Corn Flakes boxes on Friday just hours after she had claimed gymnastics' biggest prize - the Olympic all-round title.

It marked the second consecutive Summer Games Kellogg had gotten the jump on the competition. It scooped swimming great Michael Phelps after his eight gold medal performance in Beijing in 2008, spoiling rival General Mills Inc's tradition of putting the Games' biggest star on Wheaties.

"SHE'S THE STORY"   Continued...

Gabby Douglas, Women's Gymnastics All-Around Champion is featured on Kellogg's(R) Corn Flakes(R) cover in this image released on August 3, 2012. REUTERS/PRNewsFoto/Kellogg Company/Handout