Simone Biles Signs Deal with Athleta and Why It's Important for Women
Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast ever and one of the world's greatest athletes, is leaving endorsement powerhouse Nike for a deal with Athleta, the athletic clothing unit of Gap Inc.
Biles is a significant signing for Athleta's marketing efforts. We all know her success and now know her resilience after hearing her story. She's the first woman to capture five all-around gymnastic world championship titles, and the winner of five Olympic medals, four of them gold. She's one of the most prominent US athletes, male or female, expected to compete in this year's Olympics. There is no one in the world like Simone Biles.
Yet, Biles obviously absent from Nike's most recent advertisement on black women despite her athletic success. We should have known then that there was a split coming.
"The opportunity to encourage young girls to reach their full potential and be a force for change is incredibly powerful," said Biles. "I admire Athleta for their commitment to recognize and support women's individual and collective strength and, together, I believe we can help girls to confidently and passionately take on the world in their athletic endeavors and beyond."
Athleta and Gap have been building a reputation for being a supportive home for women, both athletes and executives. Athleta and Gap Inc. are both run by women. Gap CEO Sonia Syngal, a native of India, is one of only 40 women CEOs of a Fortune 500 company and one of few women of color in a top job for companies on the list. It is also one of few major companies with a female chief executive and chief financial officer.