Simone Biles. Getty Images.
The American Olympic gymnast is departing the sportswear giant after forming a new partnership with women’s activewear brand Athleta. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.
Biles was attracted to Athleta for its values and the platform it will provide her, she told WSJ in an interview. As part of the partnership with Athleta, Biles will get her own performance wear line. Her work with the brand will focus on Athleta Girl, its line for children and teens.
“Simone believes in championing the next generation of female athletes as much as we do,” said Mary Beth Laughton, president and chief executive officer of Athleta in a statement. “We are confident this partnership will continue to build community with our customers and enrich our brand.”
It’s a major win for the Gap Inc-owned brand, and not the first time its signed a former Nike athlete. In 2019 it entered a partnership with sprinting champion Allyson Felix, who had criticised Nike for failing to support pregnant athletes. The news also comes days after Nike confirmed its partnership with Kobe Bryant’s estate had ended.
A Nike spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BoF, but told WSJ that the brand wishes Biles the best and will continue to champion and support female athletes.