The embellished build-up to Stephanie Rice’s YouTube video announcement she’ll retire from swimming has left many underwhelmed.
But celebrity manager Max Markson says the Australian triple Olympic gold medallist was smart to drive the news through her own media, because it sets her up for a career in pretty much anything she chooses.
Despite having not raced competitively since her unsuccessful 2012 London Games campaign, Rice declared on Wednesday she’ll step out of the pool for good.
The 25-year-old spurned the orthodox method of calling a press conference, instead opting to post a video on her newly-launched website.
But not before a hyped 24-hour build-up that could be characterised as a re-branding effort for Rice’s post-swimming career.
For almost an entire day an official timer on the site’s homepage counted down to Rice’s “exclusive announcement”.
While many watched with bated breath, Twitter users speculated as to what the news could be.
“Spoiler Alert! @ItsStephRice is about to announce what happens in the final episode of Game of Thrones (I think) 南宁桑拿网,stephanierice广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,/,” tweeted Liam Flanagan.
When the emotive video finally went live at 11am (AEST), a philosophical Rice reflected on her tough preparation for the 2012 London Games and the emotions she’s been through since that resulted in her “sad” decision to retire.
Since London, Rice has undergone three shoulder operations.
The clip came complete with The Script’s Hall of Fame as the backing track – the anthem featuring will.i.am that played at the London Games.
As the news was shared on Twitter, some bemused users wondered what all the fuss was about.
“Oh, that’s awkward. I thought Stephanie Rice retired a year and a half ago!,” tweeted Bee.
Another user, Michael, wrote: “I’m not going to get that 3 min of my life back Stephanie Rice.”
But Markson said that as one of Australia’s most decorated swimmers Rice had every right to use media to drive her own brand.
“That’s to help her launch her new career. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Markson told AAP.
“I don’t see what’s so strange if there’s anything commercially involved in news.
“When you watch Channel 9 News each night there’s advertisements in the middle of it.
“When you watch the Wallabies play they’ve got Qantas all over them.
“There’s nothing wrong with somebody announcing her retirement and doing it on her own website.”
Markson said it was no different to other sports stars who announced news that was widely expected or had already been leaked.
“She’s taking control of it, power to her,” he said.
“She can release it how she wants to release it, when she wants to release it. And she controls it.”
“She can do anything she wants. She won Celebrity Apprentice last year – she can go into business.
“She’s an international name, a superstar in terms of swimming, and she’s popular.
“She’s a great ambassador, great person for ad agencies to use and she’s obviously got a brain on her head.”