SBD/February 8, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike-Sponsored British Olympians Could Refuse To Wear Adidas Shoes On Medal Stand

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Runner Paula Radcliffe one of the British athletes who is sponsored by Nike
Agents of prospective British Olympians sponsored by Nike have told the British Olympic Association that “their athletes would be in breach of contracts if they are forced to wear Team GB’s official ‘presentation outfit,’" which is sponsored by adidas, according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. They have “warned the BOA that athletes might take off their shoes before walking out to the presentation dais.” One agent said, “They are quite happy to wear Adidas tracksuits, but their footwear is almost part of them, it is wrong to tell them they have to change their shoes.” The BOA said that not only was adidas “sponsoring the team, the rule that athletes had to wear the company’s footwear at all times during the Olympics, including on the podium, would be strictly enforced.” The only exception is that competitors “can wear any brand of footwear during competition because it is classed as technical equipment.” Magnay notes cyclist Mark Cavendish and runners Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe, among others, are Nike endorsers. British Olympic Association Head of Olympic Media & Communications Strategy Darryl Seibel said, “It is a standard part of the team members agreement and has, in fact, been in place for at least the last two Olympic Games dating back to 2004.” The agents said that at previous Games, “there had been a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between the footwear companies not to make an issue of it” (London TELEGRAPH, 2/8).
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