Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nick Symmonds signs with Brooks & will join Seattle's Brooks Beasts TC...

In the context of big time Seattle sports signings, this certainly isn't quite up with the Seattle Sounders signing of Cliff Dempsey, the Mariners getting Robinson Cano from the New York Yankees, or even the UW getting Chris Petersen to coach the football team.

The Seattle and the Washington state pro track & field scene is now even more interesting with the announcement Thursday of 2013 world championships 800 meter silver medalist Nick Symmonds (left/photo courtesy Brooks Running Co.) signing a contract with Brooks, the Seattle based running shoe & apparel firm.

In a text received from Danny Mackey Thursday morning shortly after the 10:00 am announcement by the company, the coach of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts TC said that he will compete for the Beasts.

Symmonds, formerly sponsored by Nike, will be reunited with former Oregon TC Elite members Matt Scherer & Mark Wieczorek, and fits in with the middle distance grouping of the Beasts.

In a release by the company, Brooks sports marketing head Jesse Williams said, "Nick is one of the few athletes who understand that their job is not just to run fast but to use their role as professional runners to inspire others to Run Happy.  In addition to meeting his goals on the track, Nick works tirelessly off the track to put a spotlight on the sport. As a company that is singularly focused on the run, Nick’s vision and passion for running make him a perfect addition to our team.” 


On New Year's Day, Symmonds put out a tweet stating, "For the first time in 7 years I am without an apparel sponsor. Forced to workout in the nude till a deal is signed", accompanied by a tasteful photo of him in the buff, which was a bit ironic, given that he appeared several years ago in the nude for a Nike ad.


Symmonds was in town to finalize his contract with Brooks Thursday, and did some telephone interviews with several publications and web sites before the 30-year old headed back to Eugene.

The two time US Olympian, 5-time USA outdoor champ, and third fastest American ever at 800 meters with a personal best of 1:42.95, said that part of what drew him to sign with Brooks is the fact that Brooks does not put in reduction clauses in its contracts, adding that "Brooks, the ‘Run Happy’ company, wants their athletes to be supported through the good times and the bad, and they don’t put reduction clauses in their contracts, which is revolutionary and game-changing, and is absolutely the only way I think shoe contracts should be done.”

Symmonds, who over the last few years is perhaps the most vocal elite American runner on the issue of increasing sponsorship opportunities for track and field athletes, also said in the interview, “The way that Nike is currently writing their contracts, I think, pretty much strips the athletes of all their rights, their ability to market themselves to potential other sponsors. The reduction clauses that they had were harsh and unnecessary.”

“I would have come off as a little bit hypocritical if I said that we need to fight for the athlete’s rights to be able to market themselves and operate as independent contractors and then I would go sign a Nike contract that basically completely crippled my ability to do that,” Symmonds said to Runner's World's Peter Gambaccini. “That’s why I’m putting my money where my mouth is and I’m signing with Brooks. I truly believe that they are the company to go with if an athlete wants to be supported and to have a family around.”

Symmonds will head to San Luis Potosi, Mexico for a three-week high altitude training stint with Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano, and will run three indoor races before the USA nationals in Albuquerque.

To give a Seattle sports perspective, the signing of Symmonds by Brooks and his decision to train with the Beasts gives the company and its Beasts TC squad a bit of an ego, in the same way that defensive backs Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and the "Legion of Boom" give the current Seattle Seahawks squad an edge past incarnations of the team did not have.

Here's Nick's official announcement, as posted on YouTube.

NOTE:  The media relations staff at Brooks Running Company contributed to this report.

No comments:

Blog Archive