The Washington Times - August 20, 2008, 11:03AM

So at the end of my column today, I speculated that automakers like Cadillac and Odsmobile could partner with Michael Phelps as a way of injecting some youth into their brands.

Only one problem: Oldmobile stopped production in 2004. D’oh!


It’s true that Phelps is bound to provide some youth and energy to whatever companies he sponsors, but actually bringing a company back to life would be a really tall order.

As for the other insanely good athlete at the Beijing Olympics, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt just won another gold medal, this time in the 200 meters, where he ran in world record time of 19.30. Earlier in the week, he won a gold medal and set the world record in the 100 meters. That’s two gold medals, two world records. No one’s ever done that. (Word has it that he actually ran hard all the way to the line this time, but we wouldn’t know because NBC didn’t show the race live. Instead we’ll see it at around 11 p.m. tonight, 13 hours after it happened. Thanks, NBC!

(editor’s note: That’s why we’ve got Youtube, en Francais no less. Merci.)

When it comes to endorsements, Bolt is an intriguing case. One would assume he has a deal with Nike or Adidas, but he doesn’t. He has a five-year contract with Puma, a company that does not have the even close to the same marketing and promoting prowess. So Bolt’s performance is absolutely the best thing that could have ever happened to them.

It will be interesting to see what else Bolt can score in the endorsement realm. The fact that he’s Jamaican could be a double-edged sword; people seem to like his laid-back attitude and he’s got a great personality, but he has very thick accent that may limit him.

A few thoughts on Nike: man, this has been a tough Olympics for them. A look at their biggest flops.

-The Olympic torch was lit by Li Ning, a former Chinese gymnast who founded his own highly successful sporting goods company in China.

-Totally overshadowed by Speedo in the swimming events.

-A Puma guy gets gold in the men’s 100 meters and 200 meters, and the top three in the women’s 100 meters were also Jamaicans with Puma deals.

-Nike’s biggest Chinese athlete, hurdler Liu Xiang, was forced to withdraw due to injury.

-Bernard Lagat, a Nike athlete a favorite in the 1,500 meters, failed to make the finals.

-Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, a Nike athlete and world record holder in the marathon, finshes 23rd after battling injuries.

- Tim Lemke