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Gap's Athletic Brand Signs Olympic Star Allyson Felix

Jayson Derrick

Gap Inc (NYSE: GPS) announced Wednesday its first ever multiyear sponsorship deal with an Olympic athlete, Allyson Felix.

What Happened

Felix is one of the most decorated track and field athletes in U.S. history and will join Gap's athletic apparel brand, Athleta, as its first-ever sponsored athlete, Gap said in a press release. Felix will work with Athleta to help design and develop high performance run and train products.

She will also help Athleta build confidence and an encouraging voice among women and girls.

"I am particularly moved by the community of women and girls Athleta is empowering through sport," the six-time Olympic gold medal and three-time silver winner said in the press release. "I feel powerful when I step on the track in Athleta, representing this community."

Why It's Important

Felix wrote in a New York Times op-ed in May Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) proposed paying her 70% less after a pregnancy. She asked Nike to contractually guarantee she wouldn't be punished financially if she doesn't perform at her best in the months after a pregnancy -- a request she said Nike declined.

"My disappointment is not just with Nike, but with how the sports apparel industry at large treats female athletes," she wrote.

Athleta wrote in an open letter to Felix she will be supported as an "athlete, a mother, an activist" who continues to "break records, break barriers and break the silence."

Felix wore Athleta branded apparel at the U.S.A. Track & Field Outdoor Championships on July 25-28 and will likely do so in the world stage at the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

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Photo credit: Tab59 from Düsseldorf, Allemagne

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