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On Running: Nick Symmonds, a Polarizing Force in Track and Field, Announces Retirement Plans

Last January, a caffeinated gum company co-owned by Symmonds sued the United States Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field, accusing them of violating antitrust laws. What Symmonds sought was permission for athletes to wear logos beyond those of shoe and apparel companies on their uniforms at the 2016 Olympic trials.

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Symmonds competing in a men’s 800-meter heat at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He reached the semifinals in 2008 in Beijing, then finished fifth at the 2012 London Games.

Credit
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The suit was dismissed in federal court. Symmonds has appealed. His argument is this: If athletes are limited to wearing designated shoe company logos at track and field’s premier events, the Olympic trials and the Summer Games, why would other companies invest in a sport that struggles for visibility and credibility?

“Once athletes make it to center stage, their rights are tread upon,” Symmonds said. “They can’t even mention the sponsors that got them there. It’s just a horrible place to invest money.”

Perhaps no sport can match track and…

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