Ashton Locklear proudly shows off her Nike N7 contract. Photograph: Ashton Locklear/Instagram

U.S. gymnast and Olympic alternate Ashton Locklear has signed a contract with Nike to become the new Nike N7 brand athlete ambassador.

Nike N7 is a special programme, started in 2000 by Sam McCracken, general manager of Nike N7, which is meant to sell Nike products to the Native American population, in order to support health promotion and disease prevention activities.

Seven years after founding the programme, the Nike design team worked in collaboration with community experts and native American leaders, in order to produce footwear specifically for Native American communities, called Nike Air Native N7. All proceeds from the Nike Air Native N7 programme are given back to Native American communities in support of sports and physical activities.

Ashton Locklear, who is a member of the Lumbee Tribe, said: ‘I want to thank Nike for this wonderful opportunity to become a Nike N7 ambassador’, the Richmond County Daily Journal reports. ‘I am humbled and grateful and am so excited to be able to help inspire the native youth to follow their dreams. I’m proud to be a part of this family.’

She also added on Instagram: ‘Dream Come True Today! So humbled & honored to have signed with NIKE N7 today as the newest N7 Ambassador!’

After signing the contract with N7, Locklear presented Sam McCracken with a pine cone patchwork made by James Malcolm of Eagle Feather Arts in Pembroke.

McCracken had words of praise for Locklear: ‘Ashton is a superb athlete and a proud Native American. We’re delighted she wanted to join the N7 cause and we’re looking forward to working with her as we continue to bring inspiration and innovation to Native America youth’, he argued.

Ashton Locklear was a world champion with the team in 2014 and a 2016 U.S. Olympic alternate. She was also twice national champion on the uneven bars, on 2014 and 2016. Last month she returned to the U.S. National Training Camp for the first time since the Olympic Games.

By Talitha Ilacqua



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