Asics’ senior executive Dean Jackson said the company was signing European sprint champions Jason Gardener and Christian Malcolm as part of a one million pound ($1.48 million) two-year investment in British athletics.
“Our aim was to improve the way we are perceived by young kids and the company made a decision to go with sprinters. The choice for us was clearly with the U.S. or Britain,” Jackson said.
“But after what was not the best advertisement for the Americans after the Olympic relay final, we decided to go with the British.
“Arrogance in sprinting is fine, but it should only last 10 seconds.” After the final of the 4x100m relay at the Sydney Games, which the U.S. squad of Maurice Greene, Jon Drummond, Brian Lewis and Bernard Williams won with some ease, the sprinters received much criticism for their posing and gesturing during their lap of honour and the medal ceremony. Greene and Drummond later apologised for causing any offence. Gardener, the European 60 metres champion and record-holder, said the deal gave him financial flexibility to concentrate on getting things right at major championships.
As well as Gardener and Malcolm, Asics have also signed high hurdles world record-holder Colin Jackson, Olympic javelin silver medallist Steve Backley, and triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards.