Nike calls for acceptance in Caster Semenya film

Spot showcases Athlete in Progress apparel collection.

Nike has launched a video starring Caster Semenya that calls for acceptance and echoes its recent films featuring Raheem Sterling, Colin Kaepernick and Serena Williams.

The Olympic 800m champion recently won a legal battle with the athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, after it had banned the middle-distance runner unless she took hormone-suppressant medicine to control her testosterone levels.

Semenya has naturally elevated testosterone levels as a result of a condition known as hyperandrogenism and had lost a landmark legal case against the IAAF, something that she successfully appealed in the Swiss supreme court.

Nike's film promotes Athlete in Progress – a women's apparel collection by Off-White designer Virgil Abloh that debuted in September 2018 in Paris.

It follows Semenya running through the streets of Johannesburg in her native South Africa, talking about inspiring progress on and off the track. The theme centres on respect, love and acceptance.

Semenya closes with the powerful words: "I have learned to appreciate people for who they are, but first it comes with me appreciating myself and loving myself."

She has accused the IAAF of using her body "as a human guinea pig experiment" and has received support from the South African government and several global sports bodies, including the International Working Group on Women & Sport, WomenSport International and International Association of Physical Education for Girls and Women.

However, not everyone has stuck in her corner. British distance-running legend Paula Radcliffe has been a vocal supporter of the IAAF's position, while noting it was unfair on Semenya.

In recent years, Nike has run several powerful campaigns that fight for justice, including "Dream crazy" starring Kaepenick and "Dream crazier" featuring Williams. 

A more recent effort was Sterling’s social media campaign calling out racism in football.

A version of this story first appeared on PRWeek

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