Simone Biles is ending her endorsement deal with Nike for a new partnership with Athleta, the Wall Street Journal reports. The star gymnast said that Athleta, a women’s activewear brand owned by Gap, more closely aligns with her values.
“I felt like it wasn’t just about my achievements; it’s what I stood for and how they were going to help me use my voice and also be a voice for females and kids,” she told the outlet. “I feel like they also support me, not just as an athlete, but just as an individual outside of the gym and the change that I want to create, which is so refreshing.”
Under the partnership, Biles will create her own performance wear line, which will include gym and other apparel. The four-time Olympic gold medalist added that the company will give her a platform to encourage “honest conversations” with women and girls.
“… I also feel like Athleta is committed to diversity and inclusion, of all women, backgrounds, ages, sizes, abilities and races,” she added.
The news arrives a few days after Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant’s estate chose not to renew the late NBA legend’s endorsement contract with Nike.
“It was obviously super neat at that age to sign with such a big brand,” Biles said of Nike, which she signed an endorsement deal with at 18 years old. “But now I feel like it’s so much different because I was the one that got to sit down and speak with the team and decide, yes, this is who I want to go forward with, this is the team I want to work with.”
Of the news, a Nike spokesperson said, “Simone Biles is an incredible athlete and we wish her the very best.”
Athleta added that the partnership with Biles was “an obvious choice.”