Nike does it again, with our very own golden girl, Caster Semenya. After revealing its endorsement campaign with American athlete and activist, Colin Kaepernick, who took a controversial stance against racial inequality and discrimination of minority groups in 2016 before a major game, citing major backlash, Nike released an advert starring Caster Semenya.
The 30th anniversary ad consists of a video which depicts the life of a young Semenya, growing into the champion that she is despite many obstacles, the most devastating of which she was subjected to gender testing by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to prove that she is woman and did not have some sort of “advantage” due to her appearance.
In the undeniably touching ad, the Olympic gold medallist addresses her critics by asking:
“Will it be easier for you if I wasn't so fast? Will it be simpler if I stop winning? Would you be more comfortable if I was less proud?”
The “Just Do It” ad directed by AG Rojas of Park Pictures, we see Caster’s unbelievable journey as clips of her in reverse going back to her as a young girl and then taking her final steps.
She concludes her powerful monologue by saying:
“That’s too bad because I was born to do this.”
Much like Caster, 23 time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, success has been met with scrutiny, even down to what she wears on court, most recently. It begs the question whether these “procedural” tests and inquests are based on some sort of unfair racial bias, in which women of colour constantly have to defend their abilities and appearance.
As many media continue to report on women like Semenya and Williams in ways that casts doubt on their incredible abilities, major brands like Nike are standing by them and we applaud them for doing the right thing. We’re sure the reported 31% increase in sales has been a perfect indication of the hope that the future will be a little brighter.
For now, we’ll keep watching Caster Semenya’s awe-inspiring ad, even when it pops up as a Youtube ad.