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Why We Sponsor Kelly Roberts

Why We Sponsor Kelly Roberts

Jun 14, 2017

Brand

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Oiselle was founded in 2007, sponsored our first Olympic Trials elite runners in 2012, and celebrated our first Olympians (four!) in 2016. So although we are kind of new kids on the block, we have experienced a full cycle of track and field.

It is our highest honor supporting elite athletes, and we will continue to do so. The pursuit of achievement in athletics is beautiful, and these athletes' stories give all of us a beacon to follow. But by 2016, we knew we could do more to reach more female athletes, to spread a love of running. In addition to supporting elites and the positive impact they have on the community, we want to give a voice to the brand new runners and everyday athletes.

In summer of 2016 we started our Muse program, an affiliation with women who are athletes as well as leaders in other dimensions. In fall of 2016, one of our Volée teammates suggested we reach out to Kelly Roberts, because of her consistent positive voice for body acceptance and inclusivity. As we got to know Kelly, it was clear she had a unique voice and pure sense of positivity. We intersected deeply in a love of running, competing, and building the sisterhood. We were happy to collaborate with her, and are proud to continue our collaboration with her today.

A few important facts to clear up any confusion.

  1. Kelly’s compensation is not funded in any part by Volée memberships and it never has been. A portion of each Volée membership goes to our Woman Up Fund, which helps support the Haute Volée elite team, as well as our sports bra donation program for middle school girls.
  2. Oiselle does not condone banditing races or wearing bibs registered to others. Kelly made mistakes in the past involving joining races improperly, and has issued a direct and complete apology. Kelly is human, like all of us. Kelly has agreed to refrain from these actions in the future. We deeply support the race director community, and ask that everyone in our community support them by abiding by these rules.
  3. Bullying by a teammate. Unfortunately, we experienced a situation during the past 3-4 months where a Volée teammate repeatedly defamed and disrespected Kelly via team venues, such as Facebook, Twitter, and our online portal, which caused us to remove her from the Volée. We welcome questions, conversation, and critical feedback, but we have zero tolerance for bullying.

In closing, I’ll just say yesterday was a sad and difficult day for Oiselle. But likely more so for Kelly, who I consider a friend, and who inspires me to accept my body for what it is, and what it does. No person should be subject to the hateful speech, the shaming, the aggression that I have seen spew out of the Internet. Oiselle welcomes discourse, but people posting hateful statements will be blocked from Oiselle feeds.

The Oiselle community is a living, breathing organism, and we value all of the engagement and passion. We encourage respectful conversation and feedback, and we listen and are constantly growing ourselves. It is our hope we can use constructive dialogue to continue evolve as a running community. We value all of our teammates: our customers as well as Volée, Muses, Pros, Haute Volée, and Kelly Roberts, under whatever label she takes. Head up, wings out. 

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