Subway, Under Armour, Visa sign up Meissner
Kimmie Meissner landed a new kind of figure-skating triple following her victory at the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships this past weekend in Spokane, Wash. She now has endorsement deals with three major companies: Subway, Under Armour, Inc., and Visa.
Considered the new face of figure skating, Meissner clearly is leading the pack as part of the new generation of the sport. Figure Skating lost two of its biggest names in Michelle Kwan, who has not competed in the past two years due to injuries, and Sasha Cohen, who captured a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics but is now pursuing an acting career.
Meissner, 17, was in New York City on Tuesday to shoot her first national TV commercial for Subway. She said she is set to appear in the ads with Subway's spokesperson, Jared Fogle. Meissner, who lives in the Baltimore suburb of Bel Air, Md., stops daily at her local Subway restaurant on the way to her training center at the University of Delaware.
Her lunch order rarely changes: a six-inch turkey sub with carrot sticks and mustard.
She appeared in a regional commercial for the company after she won the world title in March.
As part of Meissner's deal with Visa, she will likely make appearances at various banks and make motivational speeches for employees. As it gets closer to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Meissner's photo might be available for Visa card designs, and she might appear in national TV spots, as well. Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist, remains under contract with Visa, but has not skated competitively lately.
"It's nice to be honored in the same way as someone like Michelle, who has always been my role model," Meissner said in a statement.
Another athlete whom Visa is sponsoring leading up to Vancouver is 2006 Olympic gold-medal winning skier Julia Mancuso.
The Under Armour deal also seems to be a good fit for Meissner. The company is headquartered in Baltimore and she has often had friendly bets with fellow skaters for Under Armour apparel at training sessions. She recently won a T-shirt from good friend Shaun Rogers, who competed in the men's competition. He has yet to pay up, she said.
Bill Kraus, Under Armour's Senior VP of Marketing, said the company noticed Meissner was already wearing their products.
"I don't think this is a declaration that we're going after the figure skating business," Kraus said. "We just really like the energy and emotion she brings to the sport. We just think she's a great ambassador.'' The company has been around since 1996, but did not introduce a women's line until five years ago, so Meissner also fits in with that part of the company's corporate mission. It's a multiyear deal, although Klaus did not give specifics. U.S. soccer star and ESPN analyst Heather Mitts and Olympic gold medalist softball pitcher Cat Osterman also have Under Armour deals, and the company is the official outfitter for the University of Maryland women's field hockey team and Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse team.
Amy Rosewater, a freelance writer based in Baltimore, is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.
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