Nike faces backlash after Olympic uniform reveal

Following the Nike Air event in Paris last week, social media users shared their thoughts on the previewed Olympic track and field uniforms.

Last week, Nike gave the public a sneak peek of the Olympic uniforms expected to be worn this summer. Serving as a preview to the Olympics and showcase of Nike’s newest technology, the Nike Air event in Paris also reopened a discussion about the controversial choices for professional female athletes, specifically in track and field. 

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Sha’Carri Richardson represents Team U.S.A (Photo credit: Nike newsroom)

During the event, Nike displayed the men and women’s uniforms for a variety of sports. However, the track and field uniform caught most people’s attention as the women’s design features a high hip cut bodysuit. Meanwhile, the men’s uniform consisted of mid-thigh compression shorts and a tank top. In light of the reveal, social media users expressed their outrage about the design choices. 

“What man designed the woman’s cut?” one user commented under Citius Mag’s Instagram post about the new uniforms, per the New York Times.

“I hope U.S.A.T.F. is paying for the bikini waxes,” another commenter added. 

Amongst the social media users sharing their opinions, Olympic athletes like Queen Harrison Claye and Femita Ayanbeku chimed into the conversation. Just as Claye joked that the European Wax Center should be named a sponsor in the Olympic games because of this uniform design, Ayanbeku commented, “This is clearly a joke.”

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“I’m sorry, but show me one WNBA or NWSL team who would enthusiastically support this kit. This is for Olympic Track and Field,” said champion runner Lauren Fleshman in an Instagram post. “Professional athletes should be able to compete without dedicating brain space to constant pube vigilance or the mental gymnastics of having every vulnerable piece of your body on display. Women’s kits should be in service to performance, mentally and physically. If this outfit was truly beneficial to physical performance, men would wear it.”

While the mannequins in the Nike Air event showed the bodysuit track uniform, stars like Sha’Carri Richardson modeled another variation of the women’s track uniform which featured compression shorts. According to Nike’s press release, athletes have the option to choose from “nearly 50 unique pieces across men’s and women’s track and field and a dozen competition styles fine-tuned for specific events” that match their personal style and comfort. 

“Nike designed the Paris 2024 track and field kits to offer athletes a range of silhouettes tailored for various sport disciplines, body types and sizes, prioritizing performance and maximum breathability,” said John Hoke, Nike’s chief innovation officer, in a statement.

“Working directly with athletes throughout every stage of the design process, Nike designed garments to ensure fit across a range of body types and style preferences and infused real-time feedback throughout the entire product-development cycle.”