Tucker Carlson may not think pregnant women are capable of doing amazing things, but it seems like Nike certainly does. The athletic giant recently shared a moving commercial on its NikeWomen Instagram feed showing just how much the company (finally) supports pregnant athletes.
The spot, called “Toughest Athletes,” features some of Nike’s best-known faces, world-class athletes like track stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Perri Shakes-Drayton, Nia Ali, Bianca Williams, Serena Williams and her daughter Olympia, and USWNT soccer player Alex Morgan. It highlights the pregnancy and postpartum journeys of pregnant athletes, makes us cry, and, yeah, sells us on the concept of Nike (M), the company’s maternity line.
“Can you be an athlete? You, pregnant? You, a mother? That depends,” the commercial’s voiceover begins. The short film cuts between athlete moms doing the things that moms do — nursing, playing with their children, being moms — and also training, working out, and kicking ass at their sports.
“What is an athlete? Someone who moves? Sounds like you,” the voice-over continues. “Someone who gets it done, no matter what? You do that. Someone who listens to her body. Also you. Someone who defies gravity. You. Someone who deals with the pain, hits her limit, and pushes past it. Pushing, pushing, pushing. Someone who earns every single win. You, you, you. So, can you be an athlete? If you aren’t, no one is.”
The irony of the ad isn’t lost on us though — Nike has a history of treating pregnant athletes badly. On Mother’s Day 2019, track and field superstar Alysia Montaño published a gut-punch of an op-ed in the New York Times, spilling the beans on Nike’s mistreatment of pregnant athletes and telling the world that the company drops sponsorships of pregnant women like hot potatoes.
Since being called out, the company seems to have reversed course and changed its stance on whether or not pregnant women deserve to be paid for their jobs. Perhaps because they realized pregnant women also buy clothing and sneakers?
Despite the previous bad look, Nike still has a ton of loyal mom athletes. “My family is a Nike family,” four-time Olympic high jumper, Chaunté Lowe told SheKnows. “I have been a sponsored athlete with them for over 15 years. We love their clothes and shoes and primarily wear the brand.”
If the new ad is any indication, it looks like Nike is treating its pregnant and postpartum athletes well and we hope they continue to support, love, and inspire these badass women. They deserve it and they’ve earned it.
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