On Wednesday, the Nick Symmonds-owned Run Gum company filed suit against USA Track and Field (USATF) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), citing antitrust violations. Symmonds has for years been the best 800-meter runner in the U.S., and his dominance has attracted a variety of sponsors, from running shoe and apparel manufacturer Brooks to Soleus, a watch and GPS company, and Hanson Dodge Creative, a marketing agency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In response to his filings today, Symmonds’s stand for athletes’ rights has been met with widespread support from those sponsors.
“Brooks stands firmly in support of athletes as they pursue their running dreams and in favor of new opportunities that allow them to make a living and inspire fans of the sport,” Anne Cavassa, Brooks chief customer experience officer, told Outside. “We admire Symmonds’ passion for creating opportunities for track and field athletes where they may not have existed before. We’re glad this starts a discussion around how we all can make changes that benefit the sport and those who participate in it.”
Brooks, which signed Symmonds in 2014, stood behind its athlete in 2015 when Symmonds protested a vaguely worded document that required the signature of all national team members. Hanson Dodge Creative, which began its sponsorship with Symmonds in 2012 after winning an eBay bid for temporary tattoo space on the athlete’s shoulder, has continued its support through 2016.
“We supported Nick in his fight for Olympic athletes’ sponsorship rights and fair compensation since we first partnered with him, and we thoroughly support Nick going forward,” Hanson Dodge marketing manager Logan Macomber told Outside.
“The big guys are always going to have that opportunity,” added CEO Ken Hanson. “The idea that people like us can have the chance to support athletes that we have a special affinity for seems constructive.”
“It is an honor to partner with [Symmonds] and all he stands for on and off the track,” said David Arnold, CEO and Founder of Soleus. “We respect his stance and believe in him and all he has done for his fellow athletes and running community.”
When reached for response, USATF chief public affairs officer Jill Geer said the organization was unaware of the suit but does not comment on pending litigation. Patrick Sandusky, USOC spokesperson, also declined comment.