Manzano felt an emotional connection with Hanes.
April 1, 2014
Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano at last has a sponsor.
In a surprising development, Manzano turned down a more than seven figure deal with new industry power Oiselle to be with a brand that is trying to break into the performance running market and one that he has more of an emotional connection with, Hanes.
“Oiselle certainly offered more money but it just didn’t feel right,” said Manzano, who has been sponsorless since the end of 2012. “I’ve never given birth, am not mid-30s and am convinced many PRs are ahead of me.”
After Manzano turned down former industry power Nike in 2012, many assumed he’d sign with one of the new powers Oiselle or Brooks. But Manzano said he felt an instant connection with Hanes CEO Rich Noll when he met with him at Hanes headquarters in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
“Hanes just feels like family to me. I really believe in their mission and have been using their products on my own,” said Manzano, who had been sponsoring himself by selling Manzano-designed t-shirts that actually were Hanes he bought off the shelf. “The fact that they have several factories in my native Mexico had nothing to do with my decision.”
When asked how he’d survive without a seven-figure contract, Manzano said it would be easy.
“Budget and Leonel are both six letter words I’m very familiar with,” said Leo. “My parents came to America with very little and I’ve thankfully saved a lot of my income over the years knowing I won’t be paid to run in circles forever.”