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Nike To Waive Performance Targets For Pregnant Athletes: Report

Sportswear giant Nike will waive performance-based targets for 12 months for any of their pregnant athletes after several runners revealed they had their payments frozen, according to a New York Times report on Friday.

American middle distance runner Alysia Montano and British distance runner Jo Pavey both said earlier this month that Nike had stopped their sponsorship payments while pregnant.

Other runners who have worked with Nike faced similar situations.

"Getting pregnant is the kiss of death for a female athlete," Phoebe Wright told The Times.

"There's no way I'd tell Nike if I were pregnant."

Alysia Montano. Photo: Getty

Sponsorship agreements with athletes typically include clauses that reduce payments if they do not reach performance-based targets.

The company told Reuters on May 16 it still had performance-based payment reduction clauses in their agreements, but they had changed their policy last year so that no female athletes would be “penalized financially for pregnancy”.

"Last year, we standardised our approach across all sports to support our female athletes during pregnancy, but we recognise we can go even further," Nike said in a statement earlier this month.

"Moving forward, our contracts for female athletes will include written terms that reinforce our policy."

Jo Pavey. Photo: Getty

The New York Times added on Friday that Nike would waive performance-pay reductions for 12 months for athletes who have a baby and said they could do more.

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“We’ve recognized Nike, Inc., can do more, and there is an important opportunity for the sports industry collectively to evolve to better support female athletes,” Sandra Carreon-John, a Nike spokeswoman, said in a emailed statement to the newspaper.

With CBS News.