Olympian Alysia Montaño claims Nike, Asics paid her less because she was pregnant – National


Earlier this month, U.S. Olympic runner Alysia Montaño made headlines with an essay she wrote for the New York Times. In it, she called out her former sponsor, Nike, for allegedly discriminating against pregnant athletes.

Now, she’s turning her attention to another popular sporting equipment company: Asics.

In a Facebook post shared yesterday, Montaño claims the company reduced her sponsorship contract based on her 2014 performance — specifically, a race she ran the day before she gave birth.

The call from Asics, according to Montaño, came a few months afterwards.

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“I was shocked,” she wrote on Facebook.

“It was true, in 2014 I did not hit performance goals, but I did go to work as long as I could (ran five miles at 40 weeks [and] delivered my daughter at 2:30 the next morning.)”

Montaño continues, saying she did the best she could but to no avail. Her contract was still reduced.

“After a long fight, I was still reduced in 2015 and fought to be reinstated after winning nationals at six and 10 months post-partum, as well as making the world relays 4 x 800 team, winning a silver and gold medal at [the] Pan American games and making the world championship team,” she wrote.

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Montaño concludes the post with a breakdown of her rigorous training schedule, which is interspersed with the responsibilities of being a mother — such as pumping her breastmilk.

“I mean, if I’m not working… what is work?” she wrote.

Montaño believes she was discriminated against because she was pregnant.

In her New York Times essay, Montaño alleges that when she told Nike she was planning to have a baby, the company executives said: “We’ll just pause your contract and stop paying you.”

In response, Nike admitted to reducing some sponsorship payments, but the company also committed to abolishing the practice.

“Nike declined to say if it wrote those changes into its contract,” Montaño wrote.

As a result of reduced payment by Nike, Montaño stopped working with the company and took on new sponsorship with Asics.

She had hoped things would be different but said she experienced the same discrimination.

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In her essay, Montaño explains that pay security is especially crucial for track and field athletes because, unlike basketball or soccer players, they aren’t paid a salary.

“Instead, their income comes almost exclusively from sponsorship deals inked with apparel companies like Nike and Asics,” she wrote.

Montaño’s essay set off a chain reaction, prompting other track and field athletes to come forward with their stories of discrimination.

Olympic gold medallist and world champion Allyson Felix shared her story, alleging that Nike refused to guarantee her pay during pregnancy.

Asics did not immediately respond to Global News’ request for comment.


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