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A coach at the University of Oregon at that time, Bill Bowerman learned about jogging on a trip to New Zealand in 1962. When back in his country, he presented the new sport to the US, publishing guides and setting up a track and field team. He taught each athlete to strive for the best in their trainings as well as in their lives. Philip Knight was a certified public accountant, a middle distance runner and an asistant professor at Portland State university. He had the idea to import low-cost, high-quality shoes from Japan in 1962, despite everyone around him telling the business had little to no future. In the same year, Knight and Bowerman founded Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) on a handshake. Little did the world know that a sportswear revolution was taking place by two men contributing 550 or 600 dollars each. The shoes imported by BRS quickly caugt on and more Americans were jumping on the bandwagon every day. By 1965, the company had hired its first employee, Jeff Johnson and by 1966, it had opened its first store in Santa Monica, California. While BRS’ rapid growth continued, Bowerman always kept an eye out for new designs. He created Cortez in 1968. In 1971, when he was making waffles for breakfast with his wife, the invention-driven man came up with waffle-sole shoes and the “Moon Shoe” was born. In 1971, BRS and Onitsuka Tiger were to split their ways. As BRS was making preparations to transform the company, a new name and logo were needed. Knight and Bowerman were to call the company “Dimension 6” as the name, until Jeff Johnson came up with the name “Nike”, the Greek goddess of victory. Caroly Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, designed “Swoosh”, still an icon of the Nike Inc, and she was paid 35 dollars for her services. The logo was patented in 1974 and Davidson was given an undisclosed amount of company shares in the ‘80s. By 1980, the company had grown substantially, thanks in part to constant testing by the professional runner Steve Prefontaine; and it had about 50% of the US athletic shoe market, started exporting and went public in December, 1980. Today, Nike brings inspiration for athletes and fosters a culture of invention. With a research lab and different designing departments for different sports, believing in the potential of the human body and working towards making the most of that potential lie in the success of the company. Starting with Cortez series and Bowerman’s training to maximise his university athletes’ performance, Nike now offers apparel, equipment and footwear for everyone, whether they are looking for cushioning, thermal insulation or moisture management. Nike also sponsors many elite athletes, clubs and competitions around the globe.
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