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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ski Teams Opt for Adidas

German sportswear maker adidas AG sealed a sponsorship deal with Russian national winter sports federations Tuesday, marking another major step in its recovery from near bankruptcy four years ago.


Adidas is "proud to be associated" with Russian winter sports teams, said Giovanni Ciccolunghi, the adidas chief representative for the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltics.


He said the company also was discussing possible arrangements with other sports federations.


The deal appears to end a lengthy confrontation between some Russian sports federations and the U.S. sportswear maker Reebok, the official Russian team sponsor for the 1994 Winter Olympics.


Viktor Mamatov, head of the working group overseeing preparation of Russian national teams for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, said he was relieved that "these questions have been resolved and the federations were able to sign up with adidas."


Under the adidas deal, four winter sports federations -- cross-country skiing, ski jumping, bobsled and biathlon -- will receive complete outfits for the national and junior teams, as well as training and living expenses. The contract expires at the end of 2002.


"We had a lot of proposals from other companies, but we've remained faithful to adidas," said Alexander Tikhonov, president of the Russian Biathlon Union and a four-time Olympic champion.


While adidas did not release financial details, national ski team manager Yury Chirovsky said the ski federation would benefit by around $100,000 in the run-up to the 1998 Winter Games.


Mamontov said that two years ago several federations, especially winter sports teams, expressed disappointment with Reebok's clothing despite attractive financial terms offered by the company.


Chirovsky said the ski team wore Reebok outfits during the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, "only for award ceremonies and official happenings."


"At the stadium we wore adidas," he said.


Reebok officials were not available for comment Tuesday night.


Adidas, threatened by severe financial problems just four years ago, also has landed the lucrative 1998 World Cup soccer sponsorship. The company said Tuesday that profits for the first nine months of this year rose 29 percent, to 324 million Deutsche marks ($217 million), from a year earlier.