Nike made a world class product for Olympic fencing (and other sports) in Beijing, but they never had a retail plan. Now, with the help of Athlete Performance Solutions, these products will hit the marketplace.

Timewarp back to 2008.  Part of Nike’s marketing strategy for the Olympics (and the Chinese retail market) was to be the Olympic footwear provider for China and a number of other nations.  The catch was that in order to win those bids, they had to design world class footwear for all of the sports, not just the mainstream sports.

Buzz around Nike’s fencing shoes was hot and the small retail allotment sold out almost immediately.  During that time the Olympic footwear team saw the potential in bringing shoes from a number of sports (fencing, rowing, weightlifting, and boxing) to the retail market but then came the recession and a reorganization within Nike that reduced their workforce and focused product development and marketing into a few core areas.

Emerging from the reorganization and layoffs was the new venture, Athlete Performance Solutions, headed up by former Nike executive Eddie Brown.

Nike and Athlete Performance Solutions officially announced the venture on August 13th, 2010:

Athlete Performance Solutions will team with NIKE, Inc. to bring innovative footwear solutions for athletes who participate in the sports found in the Olympic Games to retail outlets around the world. The new company will market, distribute and sell NIKE’s pinnacle, performance footwear for Sailing, Rowing, Fencing, Weightlifting, Boxing and Shooting.

“I commend NIKE for their continued commitment to developing innovative footwear for athletes who love the sports found in the Olympic Games,” said Eddie Brown, Founder and President of Athlete Performance Solutions.  “To date, it has been very difficult for these athletes to find the footwear they require at retail. I am pleased that Athlete Performance Solutions will now help bring NIKE’s pinnacle, performance footwear to the retail community serving the needs of athletes participating in these sports around the world.”

“Developing innovative footwear for athletes is something to which NIKE has been committed for many years,” said Erik Sprunk, Vice President of Merchandise and Product.  “The ability to make these unique products available to more athletes is something we are very pleased to be able to offer through our new partnership with Athlete Performance Solutions.”