Biles departs Nike for new apparel deal with Athleta

New York (AFP) –


Five-time Olympic champion Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast in history, announced on Friday she is leaving Nike for a new deal with apparel manufacturer Athleta.

"I'm so excited for my new @athleta partnership!! Let's do this!!" Biles tweeted in confirming the deal with the Gap Inc.-owned women's activewear brand.

Athleta signed US sprint star Allyson Felix in 2019 and Biles said she was looking forward to a partnership that emphasized the ability to empower girls and women.

"I'm so excited," Biles told NBC on Friday. "I'll have my own activewear line to inspire girls before during and after their careers.

"They have such a huge platform and I like how they inspire me inside and outside the gym and not just as an athlete but as a person."

Biles won all-around, team, vault, floor exercise and balance beam gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2019 world championships in Stuttgart.

Biles will compete next month for the first time since the 2019 worlds and says she is doing well in pre-Olympic training.

"I'm working in the gym training every day for this," Biles said. "Training is going really well.

"We're ramping up for our first competition here in a little under four weeks. I'm really excited and happy for the opportunities."

Biles said she plans to debut a new vault move before the Tokyo Olympics.

"Just trying to solidify all my routines and get prepared and confident once we get out there," she said.

With the Olympics set to be staged without international spectators, Biles said she will compete without her family in attendance for the first time.

"I guess it's expect the unexpected," Biles said. "It'll be different but I'm super excited the Olympics will even take place."

Biles is a five-time world all-around champion and six-time US all-around champion.