Championing Sports and Fashion: Athlete House Ambassadors in the Race to 2024 Paris Olympics - Men's Folio

Championing Sports and Fashion: Athlete House Ambassadors in the Race to 2024 Paris Olympics

  • By Jon-Patric De Mello

Sporting luxury finds its home in Olympic athletes. 

With half of the internet still buzzing and chittering off the high of Luca Guadagnino’s steamy Zendaya-Mike Faist-Josh O’Connor helmed tennis-thriller-love triangle, Challengers has certainly cast a spotlight on the almost voyeuristic-fascination that can emerge for movie-goers and sports fans alike when they immerse themselves in the art of spectating their favourite athletes. It would not be a far cry to predict that Zendaya’s role as a former teenage tennis prodigy relegated to an impassioned spectator of the on-and-off court feud between her husband and her ex-boyfriend will inspire the sports-apathetic to consider tuning in to the upcoming 2024 Olympics in hopes of some real-life Challengers drama.

And of course, in the most Tashi Duncan fashion there are those who “just want to watch some good competition”. The quadrennial and foremost global sporting competition has found itself being hosted in Paris this year, which coincidentally (or intentionally) is also famously regarded as the global fashion capital, home to legendary luxury houses like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Christian Dior and Celine (to name a few). It would come then as no surprise that this year’s Olympics is looking to be a great amalgamation of the growing relationship between sports and fashion, with the muses of this matrimony being championed by none other than Olympic athletes.

Historically, luxury fashion houses and their choice ambassadors appeared to be limited to the realm of the traditional celebrity, that is – the movie or music star. There seemed to be a relatively clear segmentation between sportswear brands and their luxury counterparts, with the former’s relationship to athlete ambassadorship being admittedly self-evident. On the other hand, the intersection between luxury brands and sports athletes was not as obvious (to the ordinary observer). It was not until the last decade that luxury brands began to really capitalise on the celebrity and endorsement power that top-tier athletes at the forefront of their sport could bring to the table.

Likely in part due to the tangibility of a star’s online following, going off on social media reach alone, sporting icons like Neymar Jr have a significantly larger and more engaged audience than the average actor or musician. But even putting numbers aside, and considering the sporting feats of these athletes and their ability to inspire the masses — it is no surprise why a brand would seek to forge a collaborative relationship (and vice versa).

Fast forward to the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics, the burgeoning romance between athlete and luxury house is in full swing. LVMH announced back in 2023 that the company would be a premium Olympic partner for the 2024 games, and it is now becoming apparent what the first LVMH-sponsored Olympics will have to offer. Of course, operating on home ground,  Team France is set to be fully decked out in head-to-toe Berluti (seen above), while this year’s Olympic medals will be designed by Chaumet and the Olympic Torch Relay will be sponsored by Sephora. Houses like Louis Vuitton and Dior have also handpicked top athletes in the months leading up to the renowned event to take up ambassadorship roles for their brands. While simultaneously calling attention to the parallels between the dedication to craft, driven tenacity and preservation of legacy that both worlds of sport and fashion call for.

French basketball player and #1 NBA Pick by San Antonio Spurs, Victor Wembanyana was named a Louis Vuitton House Ambassador.

French street skateboarder and three-time World Cup Skateboarding event winner, Aurelien Giraud was named Dior Men’s new ambassador.

French swimmer, five-time world champion and 400m individual medley world record holder, Léon Marchand was named House Ambassador for Louis Vuitton.

Chinese freestyle skier, two-time Olympic gold medallist and youngest Olympic champion in the sport, Eileen Gu has been an IWC Schaffhausen brand ambassador since 2021, and has also been featured in campaigns by Louis Vuitton and Tiffany and Co..

South Korean footballer, Tottenham Hotspur forward and winner of the Golden Boot award, Son Heung-min was named a  Burberry House Ambassador in 2022.

French-Polynesian Surfer, Kauli Vaast was named a Dior brand ambassador earlier this year.

British tennis player and 2021 US Open Winner, Emma Raducanu was named a Dior and Tiffany & Co. ambassador in 2021.

Chinese snowboarder and 2022 Winter Olympic silver medalist, Su Yiming was named a Louis Vuitton brand ambassador after collaborating with the house since 2022.

Australian-born French athlete and holder of two under-20 world records for the 60m and 110m hurdles, Sasha Zhoya is the latest Dior brand ambassador and 2024 Olympic hopeful.

Japanese tennis player and two-time major title winner, Naomi Osaka was named a Louis Vuitton Brand Ambassador in 2021.

Japanese figure skater and two-time Olympic champion, Yuzuru Hanyu was named a Gucci Brand Ambassador this year.

Italian tennis player and World Number 2. in singles, Jannik Sinner has represented Gucci as a Brand Ambassador since 2022.

Once you are done with this story, click here to catch up with our May 2024 issue.