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A 1972 Nike Olympic Trials T-Shirt Is the First Piece of Nike Apparel

Nike 1972 Olympic Trails T-Shirt

History

A 1972 Nike Olympic Trials T-Shirt Is the First Piece of Nike Apparel

The Men’s 1972 U.S Olympic Trials for track and field were held from June 29 to July 9 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Could this be the perfect opportunity for a sportswear company headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon to showcase their new wares? Nike was originally founded in 1964 as “Blue Ribbon Sports” by Bill Bowerman, a track-and-field coach at the University of Oregon, and his former student Phil Knight. The two showcased the newly launched Nike brand shoe at the trials in 1972, and this relic is the first-ever piece of Nike apparel described as such by Geoff Hollister, one of Nike’s first employees:

“Nike’s first piece of apparel. Made up for the Olympic Trials in ’72. Back then it was against the A.A.U rules, the A.A.U. was the governing body at the time, it was against the rule for any athlete to go on the field with a branded logo across your chest. If you had a bad with a brand on it you had to tape it up. If you had the name of the brand on the back of the shoe on the heel tab, you had to tape it up. That’s how strict they were. So, we had just launched that year and nobody knew when you read this, it seemed like the way the ‘n’ was scripted that it read ‘Mike’ so nobody knew what this meant. We were, in the meantime putting athletes’ names, hotpressing them on the back of the shirt. And Phil and Penny Knight, Jim and Gloria Gorman, my wife and I, you know, we were all laboring over the hotpress machine, 80 degrees out, a ceiling fan, no air conditioning, and again, the athletes were just backed up the parking meters to get in to get their own screened shirt on the back. But we had all these athletes out on the field with ‘Mike’ on their chests and the A.A.U. federation officials had no idea that this was a new brand that had been launched.”

 

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Nike made these t-shirts in green and yellow, orange and black, and black and white all of which were printed on Champion blue bar t-shirts, pre-pinwheel tag. Each shirt featured the athlete’s name hotpressed on the back.

 

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Green 1972 Nike Olympic Trials T-Shirt Front Swoosh

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Green 1972 Nike Swoosh Olympic Trials T-Shirt Back Mortenson

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Vintage Nike Olympic Trials T-Shirt Champion Blue Bar Tag

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