In 1964 Bill Bowerman, the legendary Oregon Track coach and one of his former runners Phil Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports the predecessor to Nike. Blue Ribbon Sports began as a distributing company for Onitsuka Tiger a shoe company that would later become Asics. Knight began selling the shoes out of the back of his car at track meets and Bowerman began experimenting with making the shoes lighter and better In 1971 Blue Ribbon Sports broke off their relationship with Onitsuka Tiger, began making their own shoes. using their trade mark swoosh logo, and calling themselves Nike (History).
Shortly after this Bowerman pioneered a huge innovation in running shoes by creating a running shoe with a waffled bottom. This allowed the shoe to have more traction and be lighter. One of Bowerman's athletes at the University of Oregon Steve Prefontaine was one of the first athletes to endorse and wear the Nike line. Pre , a bronze medalist at the Munich Olympics and the U.S. record holder for all distances from 2,ooo meters to 10,000 meters helped Nike expand and grow until his tragic death in a car crash at the age of 24. Nike then sponsored the young Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson which helped popularize the Nike Brand in mainstream America. Nike also ran an extremely succesful advertising campaign with the motto "Just Do It ".
Throughout the 1990's Nike continued to grow and began an effort to expand into the sports of soccer and golf. In 1994 Nike began sponsoring individual soccer players and in 1995 began its sponsorship of the Brazilian national team, the most successful national team in soccer history. Nike now sponsors many of the world's best national teams in addition to many of the best club teams and individual players. In 1996 Nike began their sponsorship of Tiger Woods and a year later he won the Masters. Nike was also one of the only companies who stuck with Lance Armstrong as he battled against cancer. To repay Nike's loyalty to him Armstrong has stuck with the company throughout his career. Today Nike is one of the biggest and most successful corporations in the world, sponsoring many of the world's best athletes (History).