Words: Nick Byrne
New York – Nike, the largest shoe and apparel brand in the world, is discontinuing its line of Livestrong-branded products in a final attempt to sever their relationship with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong, who started the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997, stepped down from the board of directors in 2012 after being accused of running one of the most sophisticated performance-enhancing drug schemes in the history of sports. The foundation changed its official name from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to the Livestrong Foundation in November 2012.Nike created the foundation’s distinctive yellow wristbands and has produced Livestrong apparel for almost a decade.
“Nike has made the decision to stop producing new Livestrong product after its Holiday 2013 line,” said Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins. “We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation by funding them directly as they continue their work serving and improving outcomes for people facing cancer.”
Since 2004, Nike helped the Livestrong foundation raise more than $100 million to inspire and empower cancer survivors and their families.
“The Livestrong foundation is deeply grateful to Nike not only for the time and resources it invested in helping us improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, but also the creative drive it brought to our nine-year partnership,” the foundation said in a statement. “While the foundation created and owns the Livestrong brand, Nike shone a spotlight on the spirit of courage and resilience it represents.”
Nike executives say they will honor the financial terms of their contract with the Livestrong Foundation until it expires in 2014.