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Nike SPARQ Training Ignites A Revolution

BEAVERTON, Ore. (March 10, 2008) – Nike today announced Nike SPARQ Training, its most comprehensive performance training launch ever, combining a relationship with SPARQ, high performance products, online experiences at nike.com, a new association with Velocity Sports Performance Centers, and a multi-media campaign called “My Better.”

The centerpiece of Nike’s efforts is SPARQ which stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. It offers dynamic performance training designed to make young athletes better on game day. With a mouse click, download, or visit to a training center, Nike SPARQ Training gives athletes access to premium equipment, performance training experiences and over 750 certified trainers.

In the last two years, more than 44,000 athletes from 2,000 teams across 38 states were SPARQ tested*. A “SPARQ Rating” enables athletes to track their progress, measure improvement and benchmark against other athletes worldwide. Since 2004, more than 200,000 official SPARQ Ratings have been registered.

“Nike SPARQ Training is a quantum leap forward in helping athletes perform better in their chosen sport,” said Joaquin Hidalgo, Nike’s Vice President of Global Marketing. “Young athletes can set goals, rate themselves and track their progress. We are transforming the sports landscape with these new products and comprehensive training experiences.”

New Nike SPARQ Training ProductsDesigned exclusively for Nike SPARQ Training, Nike introduces a new line of footwear, apparel and equipment.

The footwear includes the Nike Air Zoom SPARQ TR Elite, Nike Air SPARQ TR, and the Nike SPARQ Test Pro, a shoe already being used in competitive combines. The Nike Air Zoom SPARQ TR Elite and Nike Air SPARQ TR both feature an extremely low profile. The Elite is Nike’s lightest, most responsive training shoe ever. Nike designers incorporated a thinner Nike Zoom Air bag which allows an athlete’s foot to get closer to the ground, increasing the feel of each cut and push-off during training.

Each shoe also has a ventilated cooling system and outsoles designed to obtain the best lateral traction on multiple surfaces like turf, hardwood, and rubber matting.

Nike unveiled Nike Pro Core, a new performance base layer featuring industry-leading dynamic fit, superior technical fabric and engineered construction for increased comfort. All Nike Pro apparel features moisture management and superior durability, anchoring Nike’s collection of dynamic athletic training apparel.

To develop Nike’s SPARQ product lines, designers worked closely with Nike athletes such as World Series Champion Red Sox outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, to create the ultimate in versatile training products.

In addition, a complete line of performance training equipment includes the innovative SPARQ Agility Web. It is a newly designed modular ladder system that will transform how athletes train for speed and it is an integral part of the Nike SPARQ product offerings to help all athletes train to become quicker and more explosive.

Training Centers: A Comprehensive National NetworkThe Nike SPARQ Training Network, made up of over 750 certified trainers, was created to enable athletes at all levels to get SPARQ Ratings, which lead to more customized training programs and better results.

SPARQ Master Trainers and Consultants include industry leaders in the field such as Tom Shaw, who has more than 25 years of training experience with top pro athletes and Matt James, Velocity Sports Performance Director and Elite 11 Quarterback Coach.

“Nike is the clear innovator in the training space. Its premium products, aligned with SPARQ’s expert trainers, programs and athletes, creates a 360-degree comprehensive training program,” said Shaw. “For anyone who wants to train like the pros, Nike SPARQ Training can help build a better athlete.”

Athletes can now Nike SPARQ Train at more than 65 Velocity Sports Performance Centers across the United States. Each location will feature the latest in dynamic training equipment and Velocity Sports Performance Center trainers will be officially certified as SPARQ trainers.

Additional Elite Performance Training Centers around the world, like Texas-based Michael Johnson Performance Center, also assist Nike with product development, drills, and instructional videos for SPARQ Training.

Nike Unveils “My Better” CampaignAs part of the Nike SPARQ Training launch, a new performance training multi-media campaign including print, digital, live experiences and TV kicks off this week called “My Better.” It brings the power of Nike SPARQ Training to life by featuring some of Nike’s top athletes, such as Steve Nash, LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Matt Holliday, Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Landon Donovan, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Ryan Powell, Kyle Harrison, and Diana Taurasi. The multi-media campaign will launch during NCAA Conference Championship Week and on “American Idol” Wednesday, March 12. It will run throughout the following weeks on major networks – ESPN, CBS, FOX and MTV and also during “March Madness” Final Four Weekend, including the April 7th Championship Game.  The TV and print creative were done by Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, OR. Watch the ads. View the gallery.

About NikeNIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Cole Haan Holdings Incorporated, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit www.nikeinc.com.

*About SPARQFounded in 2004, SPARQ, Inc. is a performance training company based in Portland, Oregon, that provides testing and training services for passionate athletes through media and grass roots experiences. The SPARQ Rating, referred to by many as “The SAT of Athleticism”, is a proprietary method for evaluating athletic and functional ability. Testing is available through SPARQ and Nike events and through SPARQ certified trainers throughout the United States. SPARQ has tested over 200,000 athletes in high school, college and professional ranks in the past four years. SPARQ has implemented testing and measurement technologies at the 2006 USC and 2007 USC, Texas, Ohio State and LSU ProDays. The SPARQ Rating was also a central element in assessing the athleticism of the competitors in ESPN's hit series, "The Contender." SPARQ Training is defined as dynamic athletic training that develops the speed, power and explosive ability of athletes. For more information, visit http://sparqtraining.com.

About Velocity Sports PerformanceVelocity Sports Performance, the industry leader in providing advanced sports performance training for athletes of all skill levels and ages, was founded in 1999 by world-renowned coach Loren Seagrave, a five-time NCAA champion coach, who trained Olympic, professional and major college athletes.  At Velocity Sports Performance, athletes of any skill level from age eight through adult can realize their potential through advanced training programs taught by degreed and certified coaches, scientifically designed to increase speed, power and agility, while reducing the risk of sports-related injuries. There are over 65 Velocity Sports Performance facilities across the United States, each with an average of 19,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities. Visit www.velocitysp.com for more information on training programs and franchise opportunities.

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