SEATTLE — USA women’s gymnast and Hamlet native Ashton Locklear signed an agreement to become the newest Nike N7 brand athlete ambassador earlier this week.
“I want to thank Nike for this wonderful opportunity to become a Nike N7 ambassador,” Locklear said. “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.”
Sam McCracken started the idea of Nike N7 in 2000, with the idea to sell Nike products directly to Native American tribes to support health promotion and disease prevention programs. Seven years after Nike’s Native American division began, the Nike design team collaborated with various community experts and tribal leaders to create footwear specifically for the Native American community, called Nike Air Native N7.
Locklear, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, was an alternate to the US women’s gymnastic team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. She was a member of the US gold medal winning team at the 2014 World artistic gymnastics championships and won gold on the uneven bars at the 2014 and 2016 US national championships.
After the summer Olympics in Rio, Locklear participated in the 36-city Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions from September through November with the USA gymnastics Final Five gold metal team from the 2016 Rio summer Olympics. She attended the Dream Catcher Fund Gala in Ontario, Canada where she was a guest of honor.
After signing the contract with N7, Locklear presented McCracken, general manager of the Nike N7 division, a pine cone patchwork made by James Malcolm of Eagle Feather Arts in Pembroke.
“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,” McCracken said.
All proceeds from the Air Native N7, which is sold through Native American community centers and tribes, are given back to youth sport and physical activity programs in Native communities across North America through the N7 Fund, the N7 website said.
“It’s such an amazing and humbling experience to have my Daughter asked to represent Nike N7 as their ambassador,” said Carrie Locklear, Ashton’s mother. “I couldn’t be more proud.”
Learn more about Nike N7 at N7fund.com.