Under a new five-year agreement, Nike will become the exclusive apparel and footwear sponsor of USA Gymnastics’ men’s and women’s national teams, the company announced Thursday.
This will cover both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, and starting in 2025 the partnership will expand to include national team leotards and competition wear.
This is the largest partnership in USA Gymnastics history in terms of both annual and total value, and appears to signify a return in corporate trust of the governing body since the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
Shortly after athletes began coming forward in 2016 to reveal their abuse by the former national team doctor, corporate sponsorships for USA Gymnastic evaporated. Since then, the organization has undergone an immense restructuring under the leadership of president Li Li Leung, implementing most of the changes recommended by the former federal prosecutor who reviewed their handling of abuse cases. As part of the settlement reached in 2021 between USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and the hundreds of victims of abuse in the organization, every sponsorship the organization enters will put money towards athlete wellness.
Leung, hired in 2019, believes the organization has come “full circle” and conclusively put the scandal behind it – and the partnership suggests Nike agrees.
“I think our actions are showing the true tangible results from a corporate partnership perspective,” Leung said.
The partnership also follows the announcement that decorated gymnast Simone Biles, who walked out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to problems with her mental health, will return to compete in the 2024 games.
(Photo by Fernando Frazão | Agência Brasil)