Sunday, July 14, 2024

GK Elite to release replica leotards of Team USA gymnasts

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GK Elite

It won’t be new that young gymnasts can dress like their Olympics idols, but the Paris Games will mark the first time they can do it while watching the Americans go for gold.

As part of its sponsorship of USA Gymnastics, GK Elite is producing replicas of the Americans’ competition leotards and selling them at Dick’s Sporting Goods before the Games start on July 26.

The collection features eight leos built around a patriotic American woman or Parisian theme.

“We get an opportunity every four years to cross over,” said GK Elite CEO Matt Cowan. “For us as a business, it is critical that we have a foundation that can capture these new entrants.

“Ultimately, we have a responsibility tangentially to grow the sport. … What that looks like is making sure we go into placements that we didn’t have.”
 
Cowan said Dick’s approached the company about getting leos in their stores, citing an unmet demand from its customers. GK Elite approached USA Gymnastics about releasing the designs early in an effort to boost interest.
 
“That is something we felt very strongly about because we’re missing this wear-while-you-watch that is so important to sport and culture,” said Cowan, citing NFL jerseys as a comparison.
 
The replicas, which are sleeveless practice versions of the Olympians’ competition leos, will sell for $89.99.
 
GK Elite unveiled the leo designs to the U.S. gymnasts earlier this month after they were named to the Olympic team.
 
“The leos, oh my gosh,” said defending all-around champion Suni Lee. “You guys are not ready.”
 
Cowan didn’t have set expectations for sales of the replica leos, saying that in part depended on the team’s performance in Paris. But the company is prepared for up to a 20% increase over Tokyo sales.
 
GK has long been the leading producer of leotards in the sport, and it has lines with several of the U.S. Olympians. It has produced the uniforms for past sponsors Adidas and Under Armour for prior Games, but as USA Gymnastics sponsors will have its logo on Olympic uniforms for a second consecutive Games.
 
“We as a business, our little leotard land, being able to have Dick’s Sporting Goods recognize that there is a demand, there is an athlete walking through your store that’s a gymnast that’s looking for a solution and you guys can help provide that in a point of sale that’s never been done before,” Cowan said.

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