Can Puma invade Adidas empire?
By Yoon Chul
There is always more to something than what meets the eye. So when athletics fans head to Daegu Stadium for the world championships, they are of course seeing the events, the stars and the scenery. But they are also entering the empire of adidas.
One way or another, everyone will be exposed to the one of best sport brands. The sole official partner of the IAAF provided uniforms for the entire staff and it is also sponsoring 12 national teams.
But it is doubtful whether the brand will sustain its prowess throughout the top track and field meet.
Its rival, Puma, has the most famous and most-watched face for the worlds: Usain Bolt.
As the face of Puma, Bolt shined during the previous world championships in Berlin in 2009.
Snatching three gold medals in the men’s 100-, 200- and 4x100-meter relay with two new world records in 100 and 200.
The media had their eyes on Bolt, and naturally his brand Puma was broadcast to the world.
According to the Puma marketing team, the effect of Bolt in 2009 world athletics in Berlin was estimated over 250 million euros for Puma.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where Bolt won the 100 meters, about two million shoes were sold in just an hour around the world and sales in Beijing increased ten times more than usual.
Bolt’s effect was reaffirmed in Daegu, again before starting the world championships. Puma opened the press conference for the Jamaican national team and there were over 400 reporters intending to report Bolt’s every single word.
His false start and immediate disqualification at the men’s 100-meter final Sunday may be a small glitch, for Bolt still has the 200 meters Sept. 3 and the men’s 4x100-meter relay on the last day of the worlds.
In order to stand against lightning Bolt, adidas has secured American sprinter Tyson Gay, who won three gold medals in the 2007 Osaka world championships, and another top sprinter in Steve Mullings of Jamaica. But unfortunately both for the athletes and for adidas, Gay and Mullings were out of the roster due to industry and doping test failure.
The adidas press conference with Gay and Dayron Robles at the adidas Media Center ― located just next to the stadium ― in Daegu didn’t draw the crowd that Puma did.
“Lady Luck,” however, has not abandoned adidas. Yohan Blake of Jamaica won the men’s 100 meters wearing adidas shoes ― adiZero Prime.
Robles, the Cuban world-record holder in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, David Rudisha, the men’s 800-meter great, Beijing Olympics women’s 100-meter gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica and world championship women’s high jump defending champion Blanka Vlasic use adidas gear at the worlds.
Where is Nike?
In the duel between adidas and Puma in Daegu, where is Nike?
The reason that Nike couldn’t show its strength is because the United States athletics team is not in top form.
In the men’s 100-, 200-, 400- and 4x100-meter relay, the most eye catching events of the competition, Americans have lost to Jamaicans in recent international events. But Nike is still Nike.
In Daegu, South African 400-meter sprinter, Oscar Pistorius, Liu Xiang of China, returned former world record holder of men’s 110-meter hurdles, and Mohamed Farah of Great Britain, who earned silver in the men’s 10,000 meters Sunday, are all athletes for Nike.