Jesse Owens brought fame to the company
By Frederick H. Lowe
Adidas, the German sportswear company that supplied Jesse Owens with track shoes that helped him win four gold medals– a record at the time—during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, has signed a long-term agreement with Kanye West, the rapper, clothes designer, outspoken guy, and Kim Kardashian’s husband.
The deal between West and adidas will lead to the launch of adidas+Kanye West, a YEEZY-branded entity for creating footwear, apparel and accessories for men and women to wear on the street or the athletic field.
The agreement cements the relationship between adidas and West that began almost two years ago with YEEZY for Originals.
“Together with Kanye West, a dedicated adidas team will lead the development and creation of all YEEZY products,” company officials said in a statement. “Led from adidas Portland headquarters the team will manage and oversee the collaboration to assure its continued success globally. The expansion plan includes retail stores that will serve as distinct hubs for adidas and West developed YEEZY product. Further, adidas+KANYE WEST will extend beyond its current lifestyle focus with the introduction of performance-intended designs, consequently offering options for both sport and street.”
West added,”These past two years adidas and YEEZY have given a glimpse into our future. This partnership illustrates that anyone with a dream can dream without limitations.”
Eric Liedtke, adidas CMO, praised West’s vision, calling him a true creator who has the ability to see things others don’t.
“With adidas + KANYE WEST we are exploring new territories by opening up the sports world to Kayne’s creativity. This is what adidas has always been about, empowering creators to create the new.”
West is not an athlete, but adidas’s first major splash began with Jesse Owens, one of the 20th Century’s greatest athletes.
Adolf “Adi” Dassler, adidas’s founder, drove 300 miles to Berlin, where the 1936 Olympic Games were being held. He carried with him spiked leather shoes he had made at his workshop in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Dassler, through the German track team’s coach, persuaded Owens to wear the shoes.
Adidas has honored Owens during Black History Month.