Puma, Tracksmith and Malcolm Gladwell team up for a podcast – WWD

Pushkin Industries has teamed up with Tracksmith and Puma for a six-part podcast titled “Legacy of Speed” that highlights the history of San Jose State’s track and field program in the 1960s.

Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author and avid middle-distance runner, will host the next series. Legendary sprinters Tommie Smith, Lee Evans and John Carlos come from the team. Smith and Carlos won a medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics and as the US national anthem played during their medal ceremony, each man raised a fist covered in black gloves above his head in sign of solidarity with black people and in opposition to racial injustice in the world. Listeners to “Legacy of Speed” will learn how the duo helped pave the way for modern sports activism by protesting.

Noting “how men let the whole world watch how they turn a sporting event into a political statement”, Gladwell pointed out that “nobody did it back then”. He said: “The Olympics were this pristine cathedral of amateurism. There was no politics allowed. There was no money allowed. These guys were like, ‘This is ridiculous. How can we be young black men in 1968, be on the world stage and pretend that political issues are not part of our daily lives? »

The series will be available from June 14 via Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify and other resources. It will include a live episode from the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene, Oregon.

Gladwell, who also hosts the “Revisionist History” podcast, described “Legacy of Speed” as “an incredibly relevant story, as the questions raised by athletes in 1968, ‘What is the right way to protest injustice?’

He continued, “We still struggle with those same issues today. It’s a story set 50 years ago but still feels incredibly contemporary. We just went through the protests of George Floyd, Colin Kaepernick [kneeling in protest during the national anthem at NFL games]San Francisco Giants coach [Gabe Kapler recently] decide to play the national anthem. There are endless versions of this. Telling how this debate started seemed like a really important thing to do.

Tracksmith and Puma provided the money to produce “Speed ​​City”. The investment in Tracksmith was in the six figures, according to founder and CEO Matt Taylor.

Gladwell didn’t need convincing to get on board, having bought racing apparel from the brand for years. So much so that a Tracksmith employee took notice and suggested contacting Gladwell, who later wrote the lyrics and handled the voiceovers for two Tracksmith commercials.

He is also very much in favor of companies stepping in to play a leading role in solving social problems. “I love it. It’s so fantastic. There’s such a void in this country with the disintegration or fragmentation of all these traditional institutions that were talking about this stuff. What’s happening is that brands like Tracksmith say, “We have a role to play. We have an audience. We have a platform and a brand that means something to people. Why don’t we use it to tell important stories?”

Above all, the series explains how to protest something that you consider wrong or that you would like to address. “What’s the best way to make a difference or try to right this wrong?” There are a variety of strategic and tactile choices for you. There is real confusion as to which of these approaches is best,” Gladwell said. “The question we address in ‘Legacy of Speed’ is, ‘Should you boycott or should you participate and speak out?’ These are two radically different approaches with two radically different implications.

Carlos and Williams were working on this problem in 1968 and we continue to do so today, according to Gladwell. “They are incredibly thoughtful pioneers. Harry Edwards is always at the center of these debates,” he said, adding that there is no universal right answer. “Each situation requires its own response.”

There’s more on Speed ​​City to come, according to Taylor. A Speed ​​City-inspired Tracksmith and Puma collaboration is set to release later this year. Having launched Tracksmith in 2014, Taylor said he was not interested in speaking with Puma about its acquisition. When asked if Puma were interested, he replied: “They haven’t – no. That would be news to me.

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