The biggest sports brands in the world are lining up for a chance to shine at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. But one of them is already looking beyond the event and its participants.
Nike said it partnered with the city of Rio de Janeiro to foster the next generation of athletes.
The Beaverton, Ore.-based company plans to open 21 sports recreation centers throughout Rio with the aim of inspiring “a lifelong love of movement in local kids” that could eventually “help transform their communities,” according to a statement.
All of the recreation centers will receive training in youth programming, as well as Nike gear.
“The Olympic Games are such a great opportunity for all kids to see and experience a variety of sports, and see those men and women playing and winning and overcoming obstacles,” Alice Gismonti, Nike’s Director of community impact in Brazil, said in the statement. “If you ask kids in Brazil some athletes’ names, they will probably give the name of a male [soccer] athlete. Especially for the girls, this will be an amazing opportunity to start seeing themselves as athletes.”
Through the partnership, Nike intends to showcase the potential to many children in Rio and surrounding cities, who lack adequate resources and are readily faced with safety concerns.
“We have over 160 neighborhoods and 6.4 million people in Rio,” said Gismonti. “It would be impossible to transport kids to the program; we need to bring the program to the kids. If we can build a platform throughout the city where those kids can start experiencing sport in all its dimensions, and where they can count on participating in those activities after the Games end, we can change how this new generation of kids will look at sport moving forward.”
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