This New York Times op-ed (and video), written and produced by Lindsay Crouse, was published on May 12. It ripped Nike for not guaranteeing female athletes a salary during pregnancy and early maternity despite advertising campaigns that spotlight “women at all stages of their careers, from childhood to motherhood.”
The piece, which prominently features Olympians Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher, explains that women have had sponsorship payments reduced because of pregnancies and that there is language in current Nike athlete contracts that says the brand can reduce pay “for any reason” if an athlete doesn’t meet a specific performance threshold.
I’m glad to see one of athletics’ dirtiest secrets aired out. Unfortunately, it’s part of a MUCH bigger industry-wide issue—it’s not just a Nike problem or a pregnant female athlete problem. As the article mentions, athletes are not employees of the brands they represent and most don’t receive health insurance or benefits from their sponsors. They’re independent contractors and are often taken advantage of because there aren’t laws in place to protect them. The industry needs to shift the paradigm and Nike, as its biggest brand, has the power to lead the charge. (more…)
Will Jim Walmsley break 64 minutes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and take down some notable names at the Houston Half Marathon on Sunday? And how will Kara Goucher fare in her first marathon since 2016? Those are two of the most common questions I’ve seen thrown around in recent weeks and with good reason: Folks want to see the extent of Walmsley’s range and many are wondering if the 40-year-old Goucher’s got anything left in the tank. I’m not one for predictions so I’ll save my commentary for after the event while encouraging you to pay close attention to both half-marathon races—they’re going to be ripping fast, incredibly deep, and, in all likelihood, won by athletes whose names are not immediately recognizable. (more…)
“When you have things that are out of your control, that are weighing on you and really causing you angst on a daily basis, your running is not going to be what you want it to be. It can be a great escape, it can be a place you go to find calmness and peace in your heart and your mind, but you’re not going to perform at all what you’re capable of performing.”
Thrilled to welcome Kara Goucher to the podcast this week! Goucher, who recently turned 40, hardly needs any introduction: She’s a two-time U.S. Olympian, world championships silver medalist in the 10,000m, sub-2:25 marathoner, and has finished on the podium at both the New York City and Boston marathons. Beyond her competitive accomplishments, Goucher serves as a role model to runners worldwide, particularly women and young women, who are inspired by her example.
We talked about a number of different topics over the course of 40 minutes, including how she’s dealt with racing anxiety throughout her career, the impetus behind her new book, Strong, what life’s been like for her since speaking up as a whistleblower in the Nike Oregon Project investigation three years ago, how she navigated the disappointment of finishing fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, what’s keeping her competitive fire fueled at the age of 40, the effect training with other world-class women like Shalane Flanagan, Jenny Simpson, and Emma Coburn has had on her career, the appeal of ultrarunning, what’s exciting her about the sport right now, and a lot more.