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Boise's Nick Symmonds Dropped From Team USA Over Sponsor Flap


Boise native Nick Symmonds was left off of Team USA's roster August 10. - MICAH DREW
  • Micah Drew
  • Boise native Nick Symmonds was left off of Team USA's roster August 10.
The hashtag #LetNickRun blew up Sunday evening.

Boise native, national champion and world runner-up in the 800 meter run, Nick Symmonds will not represent the United States at the World Championships later this month. USATF, track and field’s national governing body, told Symmonds Sunday night that he was off the team which is now headed to Beijing for the World Championships. 

The Boise native has been in a feud with USATF over his refusal to sign a contract stating he would wear only Team USA or Nike gear at the world championships. Nike and USATF are in a partnership that extends to 2040.

"You just can't give a monopoly to a company and expect there to be a healthy, viable sport," Symmonds said. "It's never going to change unless someone makes a stand. It's unfortunate that's going to have to be me. It's unfortunate it might leave me off the team to Beijing. But it's time to wrestle some of our power back from USATF, because they've taken a lot of it."

The contract requires all athletes on the team to wear team issued, or Nike gear during all team functions. The 31-year-old is currently sponsored by a rival running company, Brooks, and sought to reword the contract to specify what “team functions” included.

A letter USATF sent to Symmonds mentions time spent in the athlete hotel and during training sessions as “team functions. It also asks athletes to “pack ONLY Team USA, Nike, or non-branded apparel.”

The list of official gear includes uniforms, hats, headbands, socks, sports bras, travel bags, and wristbands, but does not include sunglasses, watches and shoes according to the letter.

Symmonds’ stance has ignited a backlash against USATF and Nike, with supporters taking to social media in swarms.

“Making the world championships about sponsorship rather than talent is disgusting,” said one Twitter user.

For seven years Symmonds was sponsored by Nike, before switching to Brooks in 2014.

In 2013 Symmonds finished 2nd in the world championships. In June he earned his ticket to Beijing by winning nationals in 1:44.

Symmonds will be replaced by Clayton Murphy, a 20-year-old who finished fourth at USA’s.

In an interview with Flotrack before USATF’s decision, Murphy expressed his hope that Symmonds would get to run.

“I am not going to deny the spot… but I’m going to be disappointed if he can’t represent the United States like he should be able to.”