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A star is dropped for his shorts

THE REIGNING U.S. 800-meter champion, Nick Symmonds, will not be part of the U.S. team at the world championships in Beijing starting Aug. 22, because of his wardrobe.

USA Track & Field has a sponsorship contract with Nike, which mandates that team members wear the company's apparel in competition and at award ceremonies, press conferences and other team functions. Those "team functions" are not specified by the contract, and that's where Symmonds's problem arises. The 31-year-old from Seattle took silver at the 2013 worlds then signed a sponsorship deal with Brooks Running.

Symmonds is willing to wear Nike gear while representing the team, but he says USATF has pressed him to wear Nike products at all times, including, he told The New York Times, while he was having coffee at the team hotel during the 2014 world indoor championships in Poland. He says that until he gets clarity on what qualifies as a team function, he will not sign the team's statement of conditions. USATF had given Symmonds an Aug. 9 deadline to sign.

"I'm losing out on a chance to represent my country," Symmonds says. "[And] from my financial standpoint, there's potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars out there [in sponsor bonuses], and I'm not going to get a chance to race for that." He says he is meeting with a lawyer to discuss his options.

For now, Clayton Murphy of Akron, fourth in the 800 at nationals in June, has replaced Symmonds on the team.



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25, 1

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