Highly recommended: Emil Zátopek: The greatest Olympian vanished from public life after he defied Russian tanks in 1968 | The Independent.
As a kid I saw a documentary on Zatopek and was in awe of how dominant a runner he was. Anyone looking for inspiration in athletics can find that in many places: I found mine watching Zatopek and Abibi Bikila (running barefoot in Rome) excel at the Olympics.
First thought: it seems like Nike has done their homework on this. They consulted athletes such as Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad in their development of the product and they:
…worked with Amna and a variety of other athletes to see what they needed and wanted in a performance hijab. What we heard was that women were looking for a lightweight and breathable solution that would stay in place without concern of shifting.
Makes sense: these are the qualities that athletes look for in high performance garments in a variety of sports. That said, gaining the feedback from professional athletes that would actually wear it counts for much more than common sense.
Second thought: I hope professional female athletes that train and compete train in their hijab go on to adopt this product, whether it comes from Nike or other makers of sports apparel. More importantly, I hope that this further results in girls and women adopting such a product and — more importantly — participating more in sports and gaining all that can be gained as a result of such participation (I think those gains are considerable.)
Kudos to Nike on this. And kudos to all the women athletes who train and compete, at all levels.
For more on this, see: Nike Launches the Pro Hijab for Muslim Female Athletes | HYPEBAE
This piece, During Rule 40 Blackout, Emma Coburn Showcases New Balance on Olympic Stage, FloTrack, has a good run down of Rule 40 and how Emma Coburn cleverly circumvented it. In short, Rule 40 prevents all but official brands and whom they sponsor from promoting them during an blackout period of time surrounding the time of the Olympics. For example, US athletes using Nike can promote the Nike brand, but US athletes using other brands like New Balance cannot.
How did Coburn circumvent this? According to that article,
After crossing the finish line in third behind Ruth Jebet and Hyvin Jepkemoi, respectively, Coburn immediately removed her New Balance spikes and draped them over her shoulder before carrying the American flag. As a result of the bold move, thousands of photos snapped during her victory lap included her sponsor, New Balance, which otherwise would not have been featured. It’s more than likely that Coburn, who is vocal about sponsorship rights, did this intentionally to spotlight New Balance in the middle of the Rule 40 “blackout period” and circumvent Nike’s exclusive sponsorship rights with USATF.
One thing to note is that there are different rules for different athletic federations, it seems. The US swim team has more latitude than the track and field athletes.
As always, this is about money. Whatever else the Olympics are about — and obviously they are about many good things — money is one of the big aspects of these games.
I find this ad powerful. And very inspiring. It’s from the past London Paralympics and if you need a jolt of motivation to help you get going on your workout, check it out: