In one of the most unprecedented moves in sports business history, Nike has agreed to allow its Olympic swimmers to wear the Speedo LZR Racer suit for Olympic competition.
Sources told CNBC that Nikeswimmers received a letter telling them that wearing the Speedo brand during the games would not be seen as a compromise to their contract with the world's biggest shoe and apparel company.
When reached, Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer acknowledged the letter and the decision.
"After conferring with Nike swimmers following recent training and competitions, Nike has decided to extend its limited exception allowing our athletes to compete in non-Nike Swift Swim technology," Stoyer told CNBC. "Nike is a company that exists to serve athletes – hence this limited exception to allow Nike swimmers to compete without distractions was the correct thing to do given the very unique circumstances."
"No one believes more than Nike that innovation is integral to helping athletes realize their full potential," Stoyer said. "Our medal winning Swim and Swift technology – has proven itself with 15 Olympic medals, 15 world records by US swimmers alone since Swift's Swim debut in 2003."
As record after record fell with swimmers wearing the Speedo LZR Racer -- 48 of 52 world records have come in the suit and all nine world records set at the U.S. Trials were from swimmers wearing Speedo -- more and more athletes started to believe that not wearing the suit would result in a disadvantage over their competitors who sported the brand.
Agent Evan Morgenstein, who represents two of the most high profile Nike swimmers -- Aaron Piersol and Brendan Hansen -- all but acknowledged that the switch would take place.
"I always appreciate Nike's willingness to have my clients wear whatever is right for them," Morgenstein said. "As far as I know, my clients will wear the same suit they wore at the trials."