The US gymnastics legend wants to find new ways to inspire the next generation of young athletes — especially girls — with a signature sportswear line.
There’s only one Simone Biles. The most decorated female gymnast of the modern era, she’s earned four gold medals at the Summer Olympics and another 19 at the World Championships. For countless kids across the world, she’s the prototype for what it means not simply to be a top-class athlete, but a role model that redefines what’s possible.
And now, ahead of this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, she’s entering historic territory once again. After six years with Nike, she’s leaving the Swoosh for Athleta to create a sportswear brand all her own.
“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 an official release.
Biles’ signature line will contribute significantly to the expansion of Athleta Girl, a range of female-focused athleisure clothing for running, swimming, cross-training, and yoga that launched in 2016.
“The opportunity to encourage young girls to reach their full potential and be a force for change is incredibly powerful,” she said. “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.”
Founded in 1998 as a brand “by women and for women,” Athleta was purchased by Gap Inc. in 2008 for a reported $150 million. They reported sales of over $1 billion for fiscal 2020, good for 16% growth year over year.
They’re currently aiming for $2 billion in net sales by 2023 — and with a new partnership featuring one of the all-time great Olympians, their commitment to expanding their influence along with their bottom line is stronger than ever.
“We are excited to welcome Simone to the Athleta family and work together to further our mission of empowering women and girls,” said Athleta president and CEO Mary Beth Laughton on the occasion. “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.”
Leaving a brand with the sheer impact, name recognition, and economic reach of Nike is a bold decision by a bold athlete. Consider this the latest example of Simone Biles betting on herself.
And if her exploits at the 2016 Olympics teach us anything, it’s a bet that promises not simply to cash in, but resonate with young dreamers all over the world.