The Olympic Games are one of the greatest sporting events on the planet, and have been so since antiquity. The modern Olympics are far better than those of ancient Greek times, for one main reason; we have trainers, and they didn’t. Indeed, Greek Olympian athletes wore absolutely nothing, severely limiting opportunities for branding.
Anyway, let’s look at the top ten trainers in the Olympics, and how they made sporting history.
Nike Air Swoopes
Sheryl Swoopes made history by becoming the first woman to have a signature shoe designed for her, when Nike created the Air Swoopes in her honour. Swoopes wore them during the ’96 Atlanta Games, helping Team USA conquer all in their path to gain a gold medal. to a gold medal. They became so popular that even men were queuing up to get a pair.
Puma Complete Theseus
Usain Bolt broke three world records – for the 100 m, 200 m and 4×100 m relay – in Beijing in 2008, wearing gold Puma Complete Theseus’. This triple whammy made Bolt the first person since Carl Lewis to win three sprinting medals in the same Olympics.
Adidas Kangaroo Leather Spikes
Wilma Rudolph may have suffered from polio as a child, but that didn’t prevent her from becoming the first American woman to win three gold medals in Track & Field in a single Olympics – the 1960 Rome Olympics, to be precise. Adidas helped her to her place in the record books by making spiked shoes – of kangaroo leather!
Foster’s Running Pump
The Foster’s Running Pump was an early trainer that completely upped the game at the 1924 Olympics, Fosters being the company that would evolve into Reebok. The shoe featured six spikes in the front for traction, while the upper was made of lightweight leather. Abrahams won two medals wearing the Running Pumps—gold in the 100M and silver in the 4x100M Relay. He was beaten by Eric Liddell in the 100M – also wearing the Pumps – a rivalry immortalised in the 1981 Chariots of Fire.
Onitsuka Tiger Runspark
Lasse Viren won two gold medals in Munch in his Onitsuka Tiger Runsparks. On winning the 10,000M, he whipped off his Tigers, running the victory lap with them above his head to display them to the crowd. A defining moment for product placement in sport then, as well as a resounding win for Viren.
OK, so that’s five of the greatest trainers at the Olympics – next month we’ll be looking at five more of these medal winners