WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 1970s ushered in two significant milestones in the evolution of women’s fitness – the passage of Title IX legislation in 1972 and the invention of the sports bra. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, Champion Athleticwear, recognized as the founder of sports bras, hosted a special event today in New York City featuring Olympic gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, who now serves as the board chair of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
“Today, we celebrate 40 years of progress in bringing new generations of women into sports and fitness,” said Claire Powell, general manager, Champion Athleticwear. “Champion has been with these women every step of the way by outfitting them with the very best in sports bras and sports apparel.”
A national survey commissioned by Champion shows a significant improvement in women’s participation in sports and fitness. In the survey, 100 percent of women ages 18 to 24 said they were encouraged to play sports, compared with 75 percent for women ages 25 to 34 and just 45 percent for women ages 55 and older.
During the anniversary event, Champion traced the evolution of sports bras from the very first prototype created in 1977 by Hinda Miller, Linda Lindahl and Polly Smith by sewing together two jockstraps to the latest fabric and design innovations debuting in 2012. What began with the original Jogbra, has expanded to more than 19 different Champion sports bra silhouettes designed for all type of fitness activities, levels of support and sizes.
For spring 2012, Champion introduced the new Champion Sweetheart Neckline Sports Bra and the Champion Seamless Adjustable Sports Bra, both launching at retail stores nationwide this month. In addition, the brand previewed more new sports bra styles planned for late summer and early fall.
“Since the introduction of that first sports bra, styles have become incredibly comfortable and dramatically more supportive,” said Powell. “High-tech fabrics are lighter, stronger and more flexible to provide exceptional freedom of movement while still delivering the support that women need. Plus, Champion has infused color, style and feminine detailing that ensure women look as good as they feel.
“Champion understands that for most women, the sports bra is her most important piece of fitness equipment.”
Former Olympic champion Benita Fitzgerald Mosley said, “The Women’s Sports Foundation is excited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX legislation with the team from Champion Athleticwear.”
Now the chair of the Women’s Sports Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity, Mosley won a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and is an eight-time national champion and 14-time NCAA All-American. Mosley was recently appointed Chief of Sport Performance for USA Track & Field.
“As the Women’s Sports Foundation continues to advocate for greater participation in sports by women and girls, we commend companies like Champion Athleticwear for making sports participation more enjoyable and achievable for athletes of all abilities,” Mosley said. “Collectively the sports industry’s continued innovation in gear and apparel for girls and women is helping drive the increase in participation across sports activities at all ages.”
Champion Athleticwear Survey on Sports and Fitness
Also, at the event, Champion released the results of a recent survey of 425 women asking about organized sports and fitness. (detailed summary at the end of this press release).
“We conducted this survey to better understand the importance of organized sports and fitness to women,” said Powell. “What we found was overwhelming support for sports as a means for building confidence, self-esteem, respect and leadership – skills that women feel translate well into all aspects of their lives.”
74 percent of Respondents Reported Playing an Organized Sport
Of the 425 women who participated in the survey, 74 percent participated in organized sports at some point in their lives. Nearly a quarter of the respondents, 24 percent of women, said they began participating in a team sport by age 8, and the majority of respondents reported that they participated in some form of sports from elementary school thru high school.
Two out of Three Women Say Passion for the Sport was the Primary Reason for Playing
When asked about why they played organized sports, two out of three of respondents (62 percent) said because they have a passion for the sport. Other primary reasons included being part of a team (57 percent) and improving health or fitness (53 percent).
Nearly 70 percent of Respondents Credit Title IX for Giving them an Opportunity to Play
When asked about the impact of Title IX Legislation in creating opportunities for women to play organized sports, 69 percent of respondents said it was “Very Important” or “Important.”
Respondents concluded the survey by reflecting on the importance of organized sports from childhood to adult. A common theme for many of the women respondents was that early introduction to sports and fitness helped establish a firm foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle. “Good health as a youth promotes better health as an adult,” said one respondent.
Champion Athleticwear Previews New Website
In late April, Champion will unveil its new website, www.ChampionSportsBras.com, featuring a wealth of information and expert advice focused exclusively on sports bras. Content will include a sports bra style feature, fit and support guide, care tips and a blog with posts from the experts on sports bras and other topics related to health and fitness and the importance of an active lifestyle.
“This new Champion sports bra website is designed to be every woman’s go-to resource for all of her specific questions related to sports bras and workout apparel as well as more general topics about wellness and fitness from the experts who know it best,” said Powell.
Since 1919 Champion Athleticwear has offered a full line of innovative athletic apparel for men and women including sports bras, activewear, team uniforms, sweats and accessories. Champion Athleticwear can be purchased at most sporting goods and department stores. For more information please contact us at 1-800-999-2249, visit www.championusa.com or at www.facebook.com/champion or follow us on Twitter @Championusa. Champion is a brand of HanesBrands. (NYSE:HBI)
Detailed Summary of Champion Athleticwear Survey of Women on Sports and Fitness
Almost 3 of 4 respondents participated in organized sports, participation begins early
74 percent of respondents have participated in organized sports at some point in their lives
24 percent said their participation in organized sports began before they were 8 years old
Women reported playing sports for a variety of reasons
62 percent of respondents said they participate in organized sports because they have a passion for the sport
Other tops reasons for playing organized sports included:
58 percent said they played to be part of a team
53 percent said they played to improve their health or fitness
37 percent said they played because their friends were playing
28 percent said they played to build confidence and self-esteem
Younger women reported being encouraged to play sports, older women were not
100 percent of women ages 18-24 and 75 percent of women ages 25-34 reported being encouraged to play sports, compared to just 45 percent of women ages 55 and older
The overwhelming majority of women (92 percent) reported being encouraged by a parent; respondents also identified a teacher or coach (43 percent) as a key motivator
Women feel strongly about the importance of participating in organized sports
88 percent of respondents said that participating in organized sports was “Extremely Important” or “Important”
Respondents said playing organized sports is primarily about having fun and exercise
When asked about the importance of different aspects of organized sports, “Having Fun” and “Exercise” were rated most frequently (80 percent and 76 percent respectively) as “Extremely Important”
Title IX continues to play an important role in creating opportunities for women to participate in organized sports. Younger women feel more strongly about the importance of Title IX than older women.
60 percent of all respondents were familiar with Title IX legislation, including 77 percent of women ages 18-24
49 percent of all respondents said Title IX has been “Very Important” or “Important” in creating opportunities for them to participate in organized sports, including 90 percent of women ages 18-24
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