Nike has signed as an official sponsor and licensee of the 2006 and 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, as announced by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The partnership with Nike will officially begin in January 2005. For the first-time ever, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be wearing Nike’s athletic footwear and apparel on the victory podium.

The partnership between two of the premier organizations in sports will help enhance the visibility of U.S. athletes. The relationship will also create new opportunities for both organizations to effectively enhance grass roots programs and will provide greater support to Olympic and Paralympic sport and athletes at all levels.

The agreement designates Nike as an official outfitter, providing 2006 and 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes with the podium uniform worn during medals ceremonies. In addition, Nike will outfit athletes with athletic wear and performance apparel for approximately half the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) including existing partnerships with USA Track & Field, U.S. Soccer and U.S. Speedskating.

“As the world’s largest supporter of Olympic athletes, we are thrilled to partner with the U.S. Olympic Team,” said Adam Helfant, Nike’s Vice President of Sports Marketing. “Along with these new licensing opportunities, we’re excited to explore countless ways to deliver innovation and inspiration to the U.S. Olympic Movement. We share a deep commitment with the USOC: helping America’s athletes obtain a competitive advantage during Olympic training and competition — that’s what’s at the heart of this agreement.”

Nike’s official U.S. Olympic Team sponsor status will provide them benefits such as broad apparel, footwear and headwear licensing rights, exclusive podium attire rights and joint marketing opportunities. In addition, Nike will work closely with the USOC and U.S. athletes to design more innovative products and deliver inspirational marketing campaigns.

“Nike is an authentic brand, recognized for excellence and uncompromising performance – just like our U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams,” said USOC Chief Executive, Jim Scherr. “Nike now joins an elite group of American and international corporations that not only support America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls, but recognize the value of investing in the U.S. Olympic Team brand,” added Scherr.

A long-time supporter of Olympic sports, Nike currently has partnerships with eight U.S. National Governing Bodies: USA Hockey, U.S. Rowing, U.S. Soccer Federation, USA Softball, U.S. Speedskating, U.S. Snowboarding, USA Track & Field, and USA Volleyball’s Beach Volleyball Team and has already helped numerous athletes achieve their Olympic dreams.

Individual Olympic athletes endorsed by Nike include: Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, Mia Hamm, Serena Williams, Derek Parra and Cammi Granato. As an official U.S. Olympic Team sponsor, Nike’s extension in support of U.S. athletes will help outfit more than 1,500 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic winter and summer athletes beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2008.

Nike’s sponsorship includes advertising and promotion use of U.S. Olympic marks and graphics for advertising and marketing purposes.

The announcement of Nike’s partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee is the sixth renewal or new sponsorship announced by the USOC in the last twelve months.