Alysia Montaño had completed nearly every feat a top tier athlete could hope of achieving – she is a six-time national champion, a two-time bronze medalist at the world championships, gold medalist in the 4×800 relay, has represented the United States at the Olympics, and more. But there was one feat Montaño still hadn’t achieved – she wanted to become a mother, and she wanted to do so while maintaining her world-class athleticism.
In a new op-ed produced by the New York Times, Alysia “the pregnant runner” Montaño shares her story, revealing details surrounding how Nike cut her sponsorship and pay due to her pregnancy. She effectively calls out the sportswear giant for being hypocritical in its advertising sentiment and slogans, stating that “if you want to be an athlete and a mother, well that’s just crazy.” Rather than staying true to the brand’s “Dream Crazier” slogan, she argues that it’s “not a good idea” to do so.
When Montaño went to Nike and told them she was pregnant, the company told her that they would simply pause the contract and effectively stop paying her. They did so, and left her in the dust, forcing her to source money elsewhere. She goes on to describe her experience in how she was forced to tape her abs together and ship breast milk from Beijing to the United States during her post-partum competitions because she faced the potential of losing sponsorships that were vital to her livelihood. The Olympic committee also threatened her health insurance, with Asics (which she joined after leaving Nike) also threatening sponsorship pay.
The crux of the narrative remains in that Nike (amongst others) prides itself as a brand that stands on higher moral ground, or so it seems, yet has failed to implement ethical standards in place for pregnant athletes and females at large, even though countless marketing and advertising campaigns directly address women and their hopes of dreaming bigger, and crazier.
You can watch the full story in the video above. Let us know your thoughts on this newly-released mini-documentary.
- New York Times
- Image Credit
- Andy Lyons/Getty Images