As Nike has developed, it has dominated athletics with the fervor of a team trying to increase the score: don’t just win, crush the competition to send the message that athletes do. elite who win do so wearing Nike.
Several visible changes have made athletes wonder if this is changing.
Athletes do not get the same sponsorship deals.
Nike has long tried to engulf any track athlete who even had a chance to compete on the world stage. While other running brands, for example, sponsor a handful of long-distance runners or maybe a group of them, Nike sponsors dozens of runners who run medium and long distances in three groups, as well. only sprinters, field athletes and long-distance runners who are not part of one of the groups.
âNike’s legacy is in athletics, and I think it was always a deep desire they had to win, whether it was with the USATF, the Pre Classic or Team USA,â said Michael Bergmann, a longtime Nike executive who now runs the Portland Track Club.
As 2021 approaches, however, some competitive riders have been particularly critical of the company after their contracts expire.
Tianna Bartoletta, who won three Olympic gold medals in the long jump and sprint relays, is one of them. While working to get back into shape in 2020 after surgery on a benign uterine tumor, she had little contact with Nike, and one of her quarterly payments didn’t even show up in her bank account. .
âDuring that time I had a new manager and he called Nike, and Nike said, ‘Oh that’s because she didn’t make the 2020 Olympics,’â Bartoletta recalls. “At that point, I let out the most manic laugh, the laughter was like delusional laughter.”