Criticism for Nike’s Paris 2024 Olympic Uniforms

Photo of Nike's track and field uniform criticism for Paris2024.

After receiving criticism for its Major League Baseball uniform designs earlier this year, Nike is once again facing scrutiny following the unveiling of track and field uniforms for the 2024 Olympics. These track and field kits were part of a broader Team USA release, featuring attire for sports such as basketball, soccer, and skateboarding, according to CBS Sports.

Developed in the Nike Sports Research Lab and informed by athlete data, these uniforms are hailed by Janett Nichol, Nike’s vice president of apparel innovation, as a leap forward in precision and accuracy. Employing body scanning and motion capture technology, Nike aimed to create uniforms tailored specifically to athletes, even designing variations for those competing in event finals.

Despite the meticulous approach to enhancing performance, certain aspects of the uniforms, particularly concerns about the potential for women’s attire to be too revealing during races, have drawn criticism from U.S. athletes and others.

The latest Nike Olympic track and field uniforms were unveiled by Citius Mag, a running news publication, on its Instagram platform. Shortly after, comments poured in from fans and potential users alike, expressing criticism. Many voiced concerns about the lower part of the uniform, fearing possible wardrobe malfunctions.

Long jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall drew attention to this issue by saying, “wait my hoo haa is gonna be out.” Another Olympic hopeful, hurdler Britton Wilson, questioned the font choice in the kits, unfavorably comparing it to the widely ridiculed Comic Sans.

Former Olympic hurdler and sprinter Queen Harrison Claye playfully suggested a sponsorship opportunity for female Olympic athletes wearing the uniform, proposing a collaboration with the European Wax Center.

Not only athletes but also running coaches Katherine Wuestenfeld and Alison Staples criticized the revealing nature of the uniforms. Staples wondered, “If the labia are hanging out on a still mannequin, what do we expect to happen to a moving person?” Meanwhile, Wuestenfeld raised the query, “Did anyone consult a woman on this race kit…?”

Even rival companies took swipes at Nike. Under Armour wittily remarked that it was “just here for the comments,” implying it was cognizant of the criticisms. Similarly, Oiselle, a women’s running apparel brand, joked, “When you run out of fabric after designing the men’s kit…”

Lauren Fleshman, a two-time U.S. champion in the 5,000 meters, voiced her frustration with the uniforms in a detailed post. She highlighted the double standard and stated that no WNBA or NWSL team would endorse such uniforms. Fleshman stressed that athletes should not have to fret over wardrobe malfunctions or feeling exposed during their performances.

She contended that if the uniforms genuinely improved physical performance, men would wear them too. Fleshman criticized the uniforms as unsuitable for elite track and field athletes, characterizing them as costumes driven by outdated patriarchal influences that undermine women’s sports.

Fleshman, who identifies as queer, emphasized her disapproval of athletes, regardless of gender, being made to feel self-conscious while performing their duties. She underscored that excellence stems from freedom and confidence, not self-consciousness. Fleshman urged Nike, Team USA, and USATF to refrain from making it more difficult for half of the population.

The 2024 Summer Olympics are set to kick off in Paris on Friday, July 26.


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