April 1, 2020
World Athletics announced on Wednesday that the Nike Vaporfly shoe has been named 2019 World Athlete of the Year. It is the first time in the award’s 32-year history that the honor has gone to an inanimate object.
“I could say this was a difficult decision, but it really wasn’t,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe. “The Vaporflys had the greatest season in the history of athletics. They broke five world records, won 12 World Marathon Majors, and ran the 10 fastest men’s marathons of the year. They ran a 2:01 marathon and a 2:02 marathon on the same day. Get back to me when a human does that!
“And let’s be honest, this award has always been a popularity contest anyway. Now that Bolt’s retired, we don’t have anyone to give it to. Why not a shoe?”
Coe even floated the idea of retiring the award permanently, should the Vaporflys’ dominance continue.
Not everyone is a fan of the shoes, however. Outside of Coe’s office in Monaco, a small group had gathered to protest World Athletics’ decision.
“This award is another step toward the human species’ extinction,” said Tom Robertson, 70, a thin, scraggly-bearded man wearing an ancient pair of Nike Streaks. “They should have stopped at 4%. That should have been enough for ‘em. But they got greedy. Now we’re doomed, man. Doomed.
“Did you know they put a computer chip in the Alphafly? It’s got artificial intelligence and a neural network. It was supposed to be for logging GPS data and auto-tying shoelaces. Yeah, that’s what they want you to think. But Nike will wait until everyone owns a pair, and then that chip will tie our laces so tight we’ll never be able to take ‘em off! And then the nanobots in the carbon-fiber plate will reassemble into a motor and run us all to death. You watch!”
Two police officers then grabbed Robertson and ushered him away from the scene.
“Judgment day approaches!” Robertson yelled as he was handcuffed and thrown into the backseat of a car.
Coe believes the chances of a Skynet-style takeover are minimal.
“Look, we’ve been testing a lot of things on these shoes — stack height, energy return, ability to conquer the human race — and the Vaporflys meet all the criteria to be eligible for competition. Our aim is to encourage innovation while maintaining a level playing field for all athletes, and we believe our current rules allow for both.”
Just then, Coe looked down at his feet. He watched as the shoelaces on his pair of Nike Alphaflys tied themselves into a tight knot. A blank stare came over his face.