Nike responds to backlash over Team USA track kits, notes athletes can wear shorts

Nike revealed the Team USA track and field kits for the 2024 Olympics on Thursday. They weren't well received.

One picture of the women's kit in particular fomented a fierce backlash from female athletes, as the bottom of the kit showed a large amount of the pelvic region on a mannequin. Critics immediately accused Nike of making on overly skimpy uniform.

Nike responded to the backlash via Reuters in an article published Saturday, noting that it was offering unitard options to athletes with both a brief-style bottom and shorts. 100-meter Sha'Carri Richardson had modeled the shorts look on Thursday.

That is apparently an improvement from the Tokyo Games kit, in which only briefs were offered.

Of course, that one picture of the mannequin made for easy fodder on social media, with several athletes skewering the look.

Hurdler Queen Harrison Claye: "Hi @europeanwax would you like to sponsor Team USA for the upcoming Olympic Games!? Please and thanks"

Steeplechaser Colleen Quigley: "I mean I still wanna make the team but…"

Sprinter Katelyn Hutchison: "April fools was 10 days ago."

Paralympian Jaleen Roberts: "This mannequin is standing still and everything's showing… imagine MID FLIGHT."

Former U.S. champion Lauren Fleshman: "This is a costume born of patriarchal forces that are no longer welcome or needed to get eyes on women's sports."

A dissenting voice was 2020 Olympic pole vault Katie Moon, who actually wore the kit and said on X that she "didn't feel worried about…things…popping out," adding that it might have been more an issue with the mannequin.

Moon expanded on those thoughts Friday, noting that female athletes had the option to win the men's kit and claiming that attacks on the brief-style kit could actually be damaging for the female athletes who choose to wear them:

I want to be clear and start by saying that what was shown on the mannequin was concerning, and warranted the response it received. But l've also seen people making comments like, "Why can't they just make the men's uniform for the women?" I absolutely love people defending women, but we have at least 20 different combinations of a uniform to compete in with all the tops and bottoms available to us. We DO have the men's option available to us if we want it. When you attack the buns and crop top saying something along the lines of it's "sexist" (which if that was our only choice, it would be), even if it's with the best of intentions, you're ultimately attacking our decision as women to wear it.

And if you honestly think that on the most important days of our careers we're choosing what we wear to appease the men watching over what we're most comfortable and confident in, to execute to the best of our abilities, that's pretty offensive. I personally like the buns because I want as little fabric clinging to me when I'm hot and sweaty (which I am at 99% of meets I compete in). The point is we DO have the choice of what to wear, and whether we feel the best in a potato sack or a bathing suit during competitions, we should support the autonomy.

This is the second major blowback Nike has seen as an official supplier of uniforms this year, as the company and its partner Fanatics saw massive criticism for its new MLB uniforms ahead of the 2024 season. No one was a fan of the smaller lettering used for athlete names on the back of the tops, and the bottoms looked noticeably see-through.

In the latter case, Nike has said its working on potential solutions.

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