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Simone Biles drops Nike for female-focused athletic company Athleta

Simone Biles is leaving her Nike partnership behind for a more values-aligned opportunity with Athleta, a woman-run activewear brand.

Olympian Simone Biles has ended her partnership with Nike in favor of a new deal with Athleta, a Gap Inc. brand that sells women’s activewear. On Friday, Biles announced her Athleta partnership on social media, speaking to the values that attracted her to the brand.

“They’re committed to diversity and inclusion which was really important to me in a partner. They show women and girls of all ages, sizes, abilities, races, and backgrounds and design their products that way too, “ said Biles in an Instagram video. 

“As I take my next step in my career, it was super important for me to align myself with a partner who supports me, not just as a gymnast or an athlete, but for the individual that I am and the change I want to create,” added Biles.

Under the new partnership, Biles will develop her own line of clothing for younger customers and will be given a platform from Athleta to support women and female athletes, reports CNBC.

On Tuesday, Gap announced plans to expand the activewear brand internationally, starting with Canada. According to CNBC, Athleta will launch online in the Canadian market this summer after witnessing the success with their 200+ stores in the United States. The brand became more popular during the pandemic as women looked towards purchasing comfy attire to wear while stuck at home.

Athleta company released a statement about the partnership, saying, “Biles, widely regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of all time, will connect directly with girls through Athleta’s active and engaged community to inspire honest conversations and help develop programming focused on supporting and lifting up young women and girls.”

Biles was one of over 500 young women who came forward with sexual assault allegations against convicted sex offender and former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Biles was a plaintiff in the 2018 lawsuit against USA Gymnastics for failing to protect young athletes and recently said that if she had a daughter, she would not let her train with them.

Biles’ departure from the influential global brand follows Kobe Bryant’s estate decision not to renew its partnership with Nike, which was reported last week.

In 2019, Athleta also snagged Olympic track star, Allyson Felix, from Nike after she wrote about what she believed to be the company’s failure to provide protections for maternity health. Both Biles and Felix will be two of the more prominent athletes at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

“Simone Biles is an incredible athlete and we wish her the very best … we will continue to champion, celebrate and evolve to support our female athletes,” A Nike spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.

Source: Wall Street Journal/ The Grio

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