Nick Symmonds, the best 800 meter runner in the US and the reigning world silver medalist, will not be going to this year’s World Championships in Beijing.
In a release on Monday morning, the USATF announced its official roster of competitors heading to Beijing for the IAAF World Championships, set to take place from August 22-30.
Symmonds, who won his sixth 800m title at the US championships in June, has been vocal in recent weeks about Nike’s requirements that US athletes, who may be sponsored by other shoe companies, wear Nike gear while at “official” team events.
On Saturday, Symmonds said in an interview that his problem with the Nike agreement is that the conditions on what is required of US athletes — as far as when and where they have to wear Nike gear — isn’t clear.
Letsrun.com posted the full agreement that US athletes are required to sign, which says only that, “I will dress appropriately and respectfully for all ‘official’ Team functions, wearing the designated Team uniforms provided by USATF.”
Symmonds is sponsored by Brooks Running, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Other major sponsors on the professional track circuit include Adidas, Saucony, Reebok, and Puma (which sponsors 100m world record holder Usain Bolt).
Word came down on Sunday night that Symmonds would not be on the team, and Symmonds said on Twitter that on Monday he’ll “present proof that [the USATF] is stealing millions of dollars” from US track and field field athletes.
Proud to have stood my ground and fought another battle for athletes’ rights. A huge thank you to the media and fans for all your support.
— Nick Symmonds (@NickSymmonds) August 10, 2015
In a statement, the USTAF’s Jill Geer said, “We respect Nick’s decision not to represent the United States at the IAAF World Championships.”
At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Symmonds won a silver medal, the first medal for an American man at the 800m since 1997 and the best-ever finish for an American in that event.
Akron University sophomore Clayton Murphy, who was fourth at the US championships, will now run in Symmonds’ place.
Here’s Symmonds’ 2013 race:
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