Athlete Mary Cain: "I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike"

Mary Cain, a middle-distance runner, reports that her male coaches' constant demands she get “thinner, and thinner, and thinner” hurt her health and career. The crux of the problem: she joined a program operated by Nike, whose priority is selling shoes, not training athletes.

The New York Times:

The problem is so widespread it affected the only other female athlete featured in the last Nike video ad Cain appeared in, the figure skater Gracie Gold. When the ad came out in 2014, like Cain, Gold was a prodigy considered talented enough to win a gold medal at the next Olympics. And, like Cain, Gold got caught in a system where she was compelled to become thinner and thinner. She developed disordered eating to the point of imagining her own death.

“America loves a good child prodigy story, and business is ready and waiting to exploit that story, especially when it comes to girls,” said Lauren Fleshman, who ran for Nike until 2012. “When you have these kinds of good girls, girls who are good at following directions to the point of excelling, you’ll find a system that’s happy to take them. And it’s rife with abuse.”

It's a big warning to young athletes: Nike doesn't need all of its mannequins to be winners. The head coach, Alberto Salazar, would weigh her in front of her teammates and humiliate her if she failed to reach his arbitrary targets.

Consider how even after years of constant scandals, this sort of abuse still thrives at the place two opposed goals meet. Read the rest

As sports company abandons support for "smart" basketball, Nike pushes a software update that bricks its self-tying shoes

Wilson X was the sports manufacturer's entry into the market for smart basketballs, but maintaining the app that made sense of the telemetry from your sensor-equipped roundball was expensive and stupid and so the Wilson X app is no more, and the "B" in "B-ball" stands for "bricked." Read the rest

Don these slippers inspired by Marty McFly's self-lacing sneakers

You probably missed out when Nike auctioned off 89 modern-day replicas of Marty McFly's self-lacing sneakers, but that shouldn't stop you from having a pair. While they don't tie themselves, these handcrafted slippers inspired by Marty's futuristic Back to the Future II Air Mags should do the trick. Read the rest

Tiny kicks: Candles and soap for sneakerheads

This charming line of sneaker-shaped candles and soap by Russian company What the Shape was surely created for "the sneakerhead who has everything."

Each one measures a little over 5 inches long and costs $15.

Some are even dyed and scented like fruit.

Check out their Instagram for more styles/colors.

(Ufunk) Read the rest

Watch this stylish electric bike zoom through the countryside

This gorgeous Avionics electric bike prototype mixes modern technology with the classic style of early gas-powered motorcycles. Read the rest

New Nike ad features overweight 12-year-old boy

[Video Link]. Wieden+Kennedy's new ad for Nike is provocative stuff. Nike isn't sponsoring the Olympics this year, but the ad is timed accordingly. The star of this spot, Nathan, is 12 years old and lives in London, Ohio. He tells Business Insider he puked in a ditch while filming takes. I like this kid. Read the rest