SBD/August 10, 2012/Olympics

Nike T-Shirt Given To U.S. Women's Soccer Team Receives Criticism From Fans

Many fans took to Twitter to mention their dislike for the T-shirts
The U.S. women’s soccer team following their Gold Medal win over Japan Thursday put on Nike T-shirts that were “roundly panned on Twitter, from critics both foreign and domestic,” according to Chris Chase of YAHOO SPORTS. The shirts contained a "smug, tacky slogan reading ‘Greatness Has Been Found,’” a follow-up to Nike's "Find Your Greatness" ad campaign. Members of the team “were handed the shirts immediately after their win,” a common scene “after big victories in American team sports.” However, Chase wrote, “If it’s ever happened at an Olympics, I can’t remember. … And the whole thing feels completely out of place.” No one is “blaming the women on the team” because they were “handed the shirts and put them on, as expected.” Chase wrote, “I don't blame Nike either: Every 13-year-old girl who's ever picked up a soccer ball is begging for one right now. The people at fault are the go-betweens for Nike and Team USA. They should have realized the way those shirts could have been perceived.” If people who were rooting for the women’s soccer team found them “off-putting, imagine the reaction of the rest of the world” (, 8/9).

RUNNING UP THAT HILL: In DC, Janice D’Arcy wrote a top contender for “most memorable ad” so far during the Olympics comes from Nike, which depicts “a lone runner approaching the camera from a distance.” As the runner comes into focus, the voiceover says that greatness “is not some precious thing. ... We’re all capable of it. All of us.” With that, the runner “is upon us, an overweight boy, sweating profusely, running through his exhaustion.” The star of the ad, which is part of the “Find Your Greatness” campaign, is 12-year-old Nathan Sorrell from London, Ohio. D’Arcy noted the experience “did convince Nathan to try to lose weight.” Sorrell said that if he does, Nike “has pledged to return to film him.” Nike said that it “would reinforce the ‘greatness’ message” (, 8/8).

:’s Catherine Blair Pfander noted several Nike endorsers, including U.S. sprinters Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross and decathletes Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee, are wearing "fluorescent footwear” that is a "neon shade of green being seared into your retinas." The "Volt" color is “quite literally the most brilliant, if somewhat unsubtle, nugget of branding to emerge at the Summer Games.” Nike, which is a USOC sponsor, has “plenty of experience when it comes to making splashy statements on the field.” Nike North America Media Relations Manager KeJuan Wilkins said, “It was something we did during the World Cup two years ago in South Africa, with an orange soccer boot” (, 8/8). However, the NATIONAL POST’s Guy Spurrier noted Nike’s marketing efforts "could not overcome the fact that its shoes were on the feet of the wrong men” during the men's 100 meters -- the first four finishers were Usain Bolt (Puma) Yohan Blake (adidas) Justin Gatlin (Xteps) and Tyson Gay (adidas) (, 8/8).
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