Simone Biles is hopping off Nike’s bandwagon for Athleta.
Today, the Gap Inc.-owned company announced a long-term partnership with the Olympic gymnast, who will debut her own performance wear line as the brand’s active and athleisure apparel partner. She will also collaborate with Athleta’s design team to develop signature products for the label as well as multiple capsule collaborations for its Athleta Girl offshoot. (The terms of the contract were not disclosed.)
“Using my voice has been very empowering for me, and I am grateful to embark on this new journey with Athleta to inspire young girls and women to do the same,” Biles said in a statement. “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 president and CEO Mary Beth Laughton added, “Simone believes in championing the next generation of female athletes as much as we do, and we are confident this partnership will continue to build community with our customers and enrich our brand.”
Biles, who is the most decorated American gymnast, is not the only Olympian — and former Nike athlete — with which Athleta is partnered: In mid-2019, the brand landed a sponsorship deal with track-and-field sprinter Allyson Felix, who had memorably criticized the Swoosh’s treatment of expectant female athletes.
“In talking with Athleta, it quickly became clear — this was the right fit,” Felix said in a statement at the time. “It was important for me to find a partner that championed my values.”
Weeks after the pro runner’s departure, Nike announced that it had revised contracts to include more protections for pregnant athletes. The update included an 18-month period — starting eight months prior to a woman’s due date — wherein performance-related reductions cannot be applied.
It remains unclear whether Biles left Nike due to any such differences. The gymnast had been with Nike since 2015, and the announcement of her new partnership also comes just days after the expiration of the sportswear giant’s deal with the late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant.
FN has reached out to Nike for comment.