When the NSAF announced that its 2023 Nike Indoor Nationals would take place in The Armory in NYC, the new partnership between Nike and The Armory -- encompassing much, much more than the meet itself -- had not yet been finalized.
That changed Thursday, as The Armory Foundation and Nike announced they have “entered into a multi-pronged partnership to greatly enhance and expand opportunities for children of all ages to engage in The Armory’s array of fitness-based activities rooted in running.” The iconic venue serving Washington Heights and the world beyond has been renamed The Nike Track & Field Center at The Armory.
The Armory’s fitness-based activities include its CityTrack, Little Feet and Tiny Feet programs for elementary and middle school kids, its Armory College Prep program for high school students and Armory College Prep Middle School and Great Minds programs for younger children.
A wide selection of local and national media, many beyond the track & field and sports world, were invited to be part of an immersive press experience for the announcement Thursday. The NSAF was represented by CEO Josh Rowe while Nike pro athletes and Olympians sprinter English Gardner and distance runner Marielle Hall. Gardner was a 2-time All-American at Nike Outdoor Nationals while in high school and both competed extensively at The Armory growing up.
“We anticipate more than 3,500 of the top track and field competitors in the country and plan to generate the same life-changing excitement here at The Armory that Nike generated at the Nike Cross Nationals last month, where 20,000 runners competed,” said Rowe. “The Nike Indoor and Outdoor programs have produced over 400 future Olympians. We know that some of the athletes competing on this very track in March just might be competing in Paris in 2024 and will definitely be competing in LA in 2028.”
Rowe mentioned several top athletes committed to NIN, including U18 800m world record holder Sophia Gorriaran -- who will be attempting an unprecedented national meet triple in the 400m, 800m and mile -- as well as World U20 Champion Akala Garrett, Nike Cross Nationals champion Irene Riggs, and Nike Cross Nationals team champions Saratoga Springs.
The Armory has welcomed thousands of Olympic and World medalists, providing a memorable backdrop where more track records have been set than at any indoor facility globally. Armory Foundation Co-Presidents Jonathan Schindel and Rita Finkel made the partnership announcement Thursday, noting that The Armory, also home to celebrated meets like the Millrose Games, and Nike, the most recognized sports brand across the globe, share a deep and long-standing commitment to the physical, educational, and social well-being of youth, with a special emphasis on children and communities.
“The synergy between our organization and Nike cannot be overstated,” said Mr. Schindel. “Keeping kids physically, mentally, culturally, socially, and intellectually fit during their school years, and beyond, is paramount. The best way to achieve this is to develop healthy, well-rounded children who are prepared for success in and out of the classroom, instill in them a love and passion for movement, and then provide them with fun opportunities to develop this passion. Now thanks to Nike, we will be able to ensure that children in our neighboring communities of Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem will continue to have such opportunities, while enabling us to expand our outreach.”
Ms. Finkel added, “Nike is the world’s most prestigious sports brand and comes with an array of resources in terms of vast expertise in running, youth play, sports, and movement. Nike’s coaching prowess, its relationship with some of the world’s best athletes and events, including the premier high school indoor event of season, Nike Indoor Nationals, will cement our position both as the leading track and field complex in the world and as a top youth fitness organization in New York and beyond.”
“Our partnership with The Armory Foundation underscores Nike’s deep commitment to ensuring that communities have access to running and opportunities to play and stay active,” said Roderick Blaylock, Vice President, NYC, NIKE, Inc. “The Armory is not only one of the preeminent track & field facilities in the world, but it also has a long history of preparing students as young as fourth grade for higher education and college. Rooted in our belief that running and sports have the power to bring people together, we are teaming up with The Armory to champion community and athletes.”