China and Nike in the year of rat

The cultural and sporting history of the multinational sportswear Nike and the Chinese world power, the Olympic Games and memorable athletes.

Lorenzo Sabatini Author


The most famous sporting event in the world, the Olympic games, where China and Nike have written a rich interwoven history. The Chinese year of  rat (knew as YOR, 2020), marks a new cycle in China’s 12-year zodiacal calendar.

Nike Women

The Yor collection.

This anniversary is the backdrop to the motifs of the brand’s collection for the Chinese New Year 2020, which incorporates designs of the last four YOR cycles in shoes and clothing of Nike and Jordan brands.
The respective designs form a model reminiscent of yuxian paper cut, which involves the use of scissors and knives to turn rice paper with bright colors into images of animals, flowers, landscapes and folk figures. The 2020 collection of Yor graphic coincides with events related to history of the brand in China: 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008.

China, the story.

1972 is the year of sportswear multinational founding.  Also is the year of Nike Cortez, a pioneer in development a new system of intermediate cushioning sole for runners. Twelve years later, in the summer of 1984, the global world of sport come to Los AngelesChina won the first gold medal during the Olympic Games. In the same year, the brand, is  the sponsor sports suits of Chinese national team. In 1996 the multinational wrote the story of basketball silhouettes. Think about Nike Air More Uptempo, whose exaggerated letters are a distinctive feature (see image below).

Nike 1996

Basketball fever soon depopulated overseas: Chinese men’s basketball team arrives at the quarter-finals in Atlanta, USA, in the same year. In 2008, China hosted the Olympic Games, first time in the history of the nation. Nike launches  iconic 2008 Hyperdunk model for basketball parquet, worn by both Chinese and American national team. For the recurrence of Yor, original pattern revives on selected sneakers and clothing.

Like Nike Air Max 1, featuring a living fluo paddle, while the Air Force 1 lifestyle shoe presents  pattern on top and is a changing white.  Jordan Brand footwear line features a 3d motif reminiscent of Chinese coins for Air Jordan XIII and Air Jordan XXXIV models. Clothing line made for  rat year by Nike also includes hoodies, T-shirts and jackets for both Nike and Jordan.
Nike and China: a magnificent mix of cultures for a history marked by numerous records.


Nike Air Jordan

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