‘A Swoosh Affair’: Nike Accused of Undue Influence on Picking Olympics’ Toughest Marathon Team

May 3, 2024

The Kenyan Olympic marathon team is maybe the hardest to crack in sports, with dozens of the world’s best long-distance runners clawing for only three spots every four years. And every four years, it seems, there’s a furor about Nike jamming an unqualified athlete onto the team.

Nike sponsors Athletics Kenya, the nation’s track and field federation responsible for selecting the team. Nike also sponsors Brigid Kosgei, a runner who has struggled as of late but beat out seemingly more qualified non-Nike athletes for the third spot on the team. Kosgei is the only woman sponsored by Nike out of the three who made the cut. Adidas sponsors Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic and London Marathon champion, and On sponsors Hellen Obiri, who won her last three marathons: two in Boston and one in New York. FOS