The 2016 Summer Olympics have come and gone. But what do medal winners do once the games end? These days many seek out endorsement deals and start building their brands, and that’s exactly what track and field star Frentorish “Tori” Bowie is doing. During the summer games Bowie won a Gold medal in the 4x100m relay, a Silver medal in the 100m dash, and Bronze in the 200m dash, making her a triple Olympic medalist– this after only competing for two years.
Bowie, 25, grabbed the global sports spotlight and now she’s looking to be an international personality, which is a long ways away from growing up in the foster care system in the small town of Sandhill, Mississippi (population 92). On top of her wins on the track, she’s been featured in Elle Magazine and Sports Illustrated and recently shot campaigns for Adidas and Stella McCartney.
Bowie started running track in high school–and she was successful at nearly every turn, from the 2011 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships to victories in Rome, New York, and the Rio games. She attended the University of Southern Mississippi on athletic scholarship and graduated with a degree in psychology then began competing in track and field professionally in 2013. Bowie spoke with us during her visit to New York City and gave us the details on what’s next after this year’s Olympics.
MadameNoire (MN): What was your experience like at the Rio Games?
Frentorish “Tori” Bowie (FTB): My experience was everything I expected it to be, though my team and I did expect to win some more golds. But we did a great job overall. I am happy.
MN: What’s next for you?
FTB: Right now I am in NYC with my manager and we’re working on building my brand. My manager says it is important to build a brand right now, to take advantage of the exposure from the Olympics. If I wait longer, it could be too late.
MN: Why is it important for you to create a brand?
FTB: It’s important for me to create a brand because branding allows me to create a lifestyle that goes beyond Track & Field. It also lets my fans and followers get a better picture of who I am as a person, my interests and my passions.
MN: How are you developing your brand?
FTB: I am going to branch out to acting and do more modeling. I’m also continuing my relationship with Adidas. The goal is to earn money from endorsements. I’m going to try and take advantage of every opportunity. While I’m in New York, I’ll be going to Fashion Week events, and actually I will be walking in New York and in Los Angeles Fashion Week. I don’t know what designers yet — but it won’t be sportswear.
MN: Ryan Lochte lost many of his sponsors due to his behavior in Rio, how important do you feel image is to branding?
FTB: Image is one of the most important aspects in branding. People identify you and your actions with your name and the product you endorse. The image that you show to fans, followers, consumers, etcetera will affect your marketability and your overall appeal to diverse audiences.
MN: How would you describe your image?
FTB: My image is pretty much “what you see, is what you get.” I’m very transparent and open. You know, I’m a simple, country, small-town girl at heart. I try and stick to the values that I learned as a child and I lead my life as such.
MN: What sponsors would you like to work with?
FTB: I always wanted to be sponsored by Coca Cola–but I think I have to win a few more golds!
MN: Adidas is currently one of your sponsors. What is that partnership like?
FTB: It’s great. Adidas is just like family. We have been with them since 2014. I can’t even picture myself wearing a different brand. Since I signed a sponsorship deal with Adidas I have been extremely happy with the overall treatment and support they’ve given me. I love that I actually see and spend time with the staff who are responsible for our partnership. In many instances, you sign with a company and that’s it…you never get to see the actual people. [Adidas] is always present at different events to lend support.
MN: Most people might not think about it this way, but track and field is your career.
FTB: Oh, yeah. It’s a full-time job. There’s a lot of work that goes into being a professional track and field athlete. I will get back to training in November.
MN: What’s your training like?
FTB: Typically, I’m training from 8:30 am to 2 pm. Then after training I’m trying to recover–I’m either with the chiropractor or getting a massage. I pretty much don’t have a life until the weekend. And on the weekends I’m relaxing in the park, or on the lake, or seeing musicians perform. I also do a lot of events to inspire young people. I was just in DC doing some events with local youth and kids in foster care. I feel it’s important for me to help inspire kids.
MN: Will you compete in the next Olympics?
FTB: I hope so! I’m not looking to retire yet! The plan right now is to compete in the next games.