PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nike dropped its lawsuit against Boris Berian over what brand of gear he wears, freeing the middle-distance runner to concentrate on the Olympic Trials next week.
Berian is emerging as one of the feel-good stories with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on the horizon. He’s an 800-meter runner who flipped burgers at a McDonald’s in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to make ends meet while he trained.
At a meet last month in Southern California, Berian was sued by Nike Inc., which accused him of breach of contract. His endorsement deal with Nike went through Dec. 31, 2015, but gave the company the right to match any other offers. Nike felt it matched an offer presented by New Balance Athletics Inc., which Berian preferred.
A judge was scheduled to issue a ruling on the eve of the Olympic Trials before Nike announced Thursday that it was dropping its suit.
“Nike legitimately exercised its right to match the New Balance offer and believe we would prove this at trial. It is important that agreements endorsers, endorsees and agents sign together are appropriately upheld,” Nike said in a statement. “As a running company, we also recognize that this is a significant time for Boris and in light of the judge’s decision to delay the ruling until June 28th, the eve of the Olympic Trials, we decided to eliminate this distraction for Boris.
“Therefore, in the interests of the athlete we have dismissed our case. We wish Boris the best of luck and success in the future.”
Berian may now negotiate with any footwear company.
On his Twitter account, he posted: “I’ve had so much support from my family friends and all of my fans the past couple months and I can’t thank you enough!”
MORE: Two Olympic silver medalists out of U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials
Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.
Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.
Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.
It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.
Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.
China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.
“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”
Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.
Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).
Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.
The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.
The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.
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