Truth in Statements, Part 1

Please forgive any formatting errors – I am not a professional blogger, I am new to this.
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.” Sally Bergesen, CEO of Oiselle.
 
Merriam-Webster defines bullying as: 

bullying

  1. :  abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc. :  the actions and behavior of a bully
I’m having a flashback to 2015 when Nick Symmonds, 2x Olympian, US World Silver Medalist in the 800m, 6x USA 800m National champion, asked the USATF (the governing body of USA Track & Field) to define a “Team USA event” in the contract he was to sign in order to compete at IAAF Worlds. (Watch an interview here. I love the passion he has for what’s right and fair in the sport. At 3:45 he talks about how he was bullied & harassed by a governing body larger than him.)
In not receiving clarification on the matter, Symmonds was left off of the 2015 World team, because he would not sign a contract with ambiguous wording – regardless of his value and worth as an asset to Team USA, as he was the only athlete qualified for the Worlds men’s 800m team at that time whom had proven he could race through rounds on a world stage, and had a silver medal to defend. (Clayton Murphy, the athlete that took Nick’s place at Worlds, has since evolved into an amazing elite runner himself, taking home the bronze medal in the 800m at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.) Yes, there were many other elite athletes that signed the contract and went to Beijing that year, but Symmonds stood up for the values and beliefs he has had regarding athletes and their sponsors in sport that he has not shied away from since day one.
I came back to this sport because of voices like Nick Symmonds and Lauren Fleshman. I’ve long admired the stands they take on important issues within track and field, and enlightening others with their truths. In having conversations with them both, learning from my mistakes when Lauren has pointed them out, and meeting many, many other professional elite athletes and learning their stories, some of whom I am able to genuinely call friend, I have become a stronger version of the woman I was before coming back to the sport. Because of their genuine love and passion for the sport, I have been more inspired by the day.
Oiselle used to have an official team Facebook page that was administrated and watched over by the headquarters. When the decision to move to a private team portal on the platform Ning was made and the deletion of the official Facebook forum announced, women were upset that the page would be gone for a variety of reasons. Facebook was simply the preferred method of communication by many (not all) members of the team. Many felt that a daily positivity would be lost without the Oiselle page. Watching this unfold, and saddened by the thought of losing team members by the switch to Ning, I brought up the idea to HQ for an unofficial fan page instead, and it was approved by (then HQ Volee-leader Heather Stephens and Dr. Lesko). Lesko’s response when I asked to start a fan page: “You are your own woman! If that moves you, do it! Just specify it is a fan page not managed or affiliated with O Nest; there are a number of examples out there if you need! Thanks, lovely! No clipping wings from us, woman! Go for it!”) This group (that was until recently named We Love Oiselle!) was begun in April 2016, with the specific indication listed within that it was NOT an official team forum. Women truly loved the positivity and team camraderie it brought to their lives daily.
We based our interactions on the team manifesto Principles of Flight held as members of Oiselle, but by no means was it for team members only to discuss official team situations. That was for Ning. We invited non-Oiselle friends to the secret page to spread our love for sport and life and created a community as official team communications moved to Ning. I, with other team members functioning as admins & moderators throughout the year since it began, hosted a Facebook forum that was always listed and functioning as an unofficial fan page. The secret FB group, formerly known as We Love Oiselle, is a safe, private space for women in the group (we had one #BroBird, a male member of Oiselle Volee). There is a sanctity within the space where these women came to share dark secrets of infidelity, marriage struggles, mental illness, and eating disorders, alongside positive and happy moments in their lives.
I’ve poured my heart and soul into supporting my teammates on all social media platforms, especially the Facebook forum. I’ve placed an extensive amount of time and energy into maintaining this specific Facebook forum almost daily (I often spend a lot of time on set in “hurry up and wait” mode – I’ll write more about that in another blog. It’s a very common situation to be in for models and actors for TV/film/commercials). I’ve personally reached out to so many that have been dealing with difficult situations, no matter what team they are with. I’m never more than a text message or a phone call away to anyone in my life, regardless of the time of the day. As I watched over the forum and moderated conversations within it with the help of various other Volee teammates, I became well aware of each teammate’s struggles, their journeys, their joys, and their heartbreaks.
I’ve never held an official position within the Oiselle community. I am not a team leader for the Volee, I have not modeled for the brand, I am not an elite athlete in any form, I was simply a proud, paying, cheerleading member of the team. Running the Facebook page was voluntary, and had no official team overview. Therefore, I ask questions and cheer the community the same as any other member is welcome to. I had two public tweets addressing the issue prior to my membership being rescinded directly questioning Oiselle why Kelly, a blogger, was misleadingly listed in the company of elite professionals. I am not Megan Murray, listed as the press inquiries contact for Oiselle, who tweeted “If you’re uncomfortable w/banditing, I’d take a long look a the history of women’s running. Disobedience = our tradition. #BobbiWasABandit” on her personal Twitter page. She wrote this in response to the banditing uncovered by Derek Murphy about Oiselle athlete Kelly Roberts, which was then hastily retweeted (and un-retweeted) by the official Oiselle Twitter account. 24 hours later, Oiselle’s twitter account posted this. (The original Murray tweet has now been deleted after a highly contentious Twitter conversation, prompting Sally to state in a blog that Oiselle does not promote breaking the rules of a race. They still sponsor Roberts after she has been seen to break the rules of races more than once.) Runner’s World also immediately responded to the support of banditing races with this article.
It’s no secret that Oiselle has a private online forum for members only, a platform called NING. As this is the only official space to for team members to communicate with HQ and have their views directly heard, I have reposted my parts of the conversation as well as posted additional commentary in the thread from others as anonymous after seeking permission from the commenters. I had always had a good relationship and respect for the members of HQ regarding any issues prior to my rescindment, and never felt as though I could not ask questions. I always sought their opinion whenever a member had a question I thought was appropriate for them to answer. I’ve conversed with Sally at meet-ups since the first February 2014 NYC run we had together prior to my joining Oiselle Volee in fall 2014. In fact, after having a quick conversation to catch up with Sally at the team meetup post-Women’s March January 22nd, after personally struggling with the best way to let HQ know about questions regarding Kelly’s addition to Oiselle for about a week, I asked her directly on how to handle the questions in the Facebook forum. Should I send her the pertinent questions from the conversation? What should I do? She responded with, “I don’t care what happens on the Facebook page, I don’t care about it at all. If anyone has a question, they should contact me via email or on Ning. They know how to reach me directly.” Fair enough. So I stated that to the members of the forum, and I did not begin the thread on Ning. Here are my exact words on Ning asking for transparency about Kelly Roberts from January 2017, and the responses from the Nest leaders (the Nest is the name for the official Oiselle headquarters):
Oiselle terms & people to know as you go along:
Sally = Sally Bergesen, CEO of Oiselle. (@oiselle_sally)
Lesko = Dr. Sarah Lesko, Oiselle HQ, Corporate Development. (@drlesko)
#FlyStyle = wearing Oiselle clothing
Volee = dues-paying members of Oiselle team ($100)
Haute Volee = elite level athletes sponsored in some way by Oiselle looking to break into national/world level competition, currently there are at least two Olympians classified as Haute Volee
This thread was deleted, and ironically on the same evening the Oiselle “Speak Out” t-shirt was launched. I think it’s only fair that since my words are being called into question publicly, I state them here, especially since many team members were left behind wondering what was actually said. I stand by what I’ve stated.

Jan 25, 2017:

Original Post, NING (not by me, anonymous): Pictures of Kelly Roberts decked out in Oiselle with captions hashtagged with flystyle are suddenly flooding my social media feeds even without me actually following her directly. I am just curious…why is Kelly the only large-ish/er woman posted on Oiselle’s Twitter, Instagram,and blog? We have SO MANY beautiful and inspiring Volee who have a similar physical profile to her, not to mention who have wholeheartedly invested in Oiselle, that would love to be featured. People that came to Oiselle on their own, people that believe in the O and its mission, people that love to run and love the #runfamily, etc. The Volee alone represent hundreds of normal, everyday people without 30,000+ followers on IG. Is that the goal with Kelly? To be able to reach the masses?
Jan 26, 2017:
My response to the post (clarification – I never sent the copied parts of the thread, I never sent the draft of the email I quote here):

First off, THANK YOU to XXX for posting this here. I am so happy that we are beginning/continuing what I surely felt was a very involved & important discussion on the Facebook page over to Ning. I have also, since speaking to Sally at the run this past weekend, reminded everyone in the FB forum to bring up anything that should be known to the Nest on Ning or by email since the forum isn’t an official Volee site.
Since I already had an email ready to go for the Nest.. this is what I had written as a draft last week, in addition to transcribing the FB discussion (100+ comments on one aspect, 300+ total on the whole thread if you all missed it).
“We had a very intense discussion arise in the We Love Oiselle FB page. I normally text you ladies with items that should make you smile, since for the most part it is a very happy and loving forum! But this did bring up confusion and a lot of opinions, and many birds messaging me about it. It also brought up the context that expressing discontent with something O does is fear inducing & so some women won’t speak up. Only after realizing other women felt the same did they feel as though they could come forward and say “hey, I don’t like this either” or “I don’t agree with this” or “I thought I was the only one who felt this way!” regarding Kelly. Others were saddened that some were questioning the motives of the new muse. There are over 200 comments on this thread & 100+ comments to the #sportsbrasquad/Muse situation so I thought it was important to bring up to you. Condensing the conversation to bring up pertinent issues + reiterated points, I am listing the main questions below & copying over parts of the thread. I am also the messenger – not every question is mine (but I do have some!). I don’t believe anyone was being malicious or mean – I do fully feel that everyone was stating an opinion that they had every right to have.
Also, I made sure to personally reach out to any women that stated they felt slighted or that the commentary was mean-spirited. I watch these women post daily – I have come to know their posting personalities, so I understood that no one was being mean. Regardless, I reached out to everyone as best I could. Since this set of posts, women have started new blogs & IG pages about #RealRunning & their own stories. So, it’s been motivating our women to speak out in the voice that they want to hear.
Points that are not clear to our Volee:
What is a Muse & their specific relationship for Oiselle?
Is Kelly KR sponsored by Oiselle? Is she receiving free gear? Why isn’t it clear in her social media either way? (She used the words “Oiselle invested in me”)
Was/is Kelly KR a member of Volee?
Why not elevate the voices of our own Volee as opposed to someone from outside our team?
Why is this specific Muse being given more attention than the others? (as of today 3 blog posts within one month)
Points that were repeated:
The Haute Volee, professional runners, & fellow Volee are empowering. I would rather hear stories from the teammates that support me or professionals.
Is this the prelude to a larger set of clothing?
I’m serious about my running & this doesn’t feel like a passionate runner or a genuine message.
At the end of it all, there is a strong reaction to this woman and her presence with regards to our team and I thought it was worthy of your attention.”
There are many concerns that are brought up. Change is inevitable with life. And it looks like Oiselle is beginning to sponsor a variety of ladies (there’s a badass 70+ elite granny tweet out now!). At the end of the day, O is a business. They will extend this brand as only O knows how to. This whole thread started with wondering about Kate Grace & O (Long Race Kate The Great With Grace! We heart Kate so much) and became the type of discussion that you can only get with so many women with so many viewpoints and so many questions. Hell, I am not fast & I have small sponsorships starting & in the works.
Personally, I didn’t know a thing about Kelly until this FB thread, when I was reminded she was the “selfies running with hot guys” viral post. (A model friend of mine from RI sent it to me saying I should do that at my next race, I said I would never take a selfie while racing! but then that led to a discussion resulting in her meeting me in Boston to #SelfieStop my first Boston Marathon. And the rest is history lol). I saw her first blog post for O, and I thought it was great. Everyone should wear what they feel is comfortable. Especially to train. If it helps other women, AMAZING! But as I went through her social and her brand to learn about her, she simply isn’t an inspiration to me as a runner. I love that she can be herself & put herself out there. That is NOT EASY. But like others have said, it’s partially because the O partnership doesn’t feel genuine. It does feel like she came out of nowhere. I don’t run so I can eat all the food, I eat because I have to fuel my run (and because I’m hungry haha). I eat so that I can fuel the amazing things my body can DO & will be able to do. Actually, I disagree with parts of what she has to say because although I know that O has always worked to be inclusive (and I surely try so hard to be certain that everyone feels included on our FB page at least) there are posts that are prominent on her social media that actually make me feel like my strong body has no place in her world as she sees it. My strong body (vs my partially broken/injured out-of-shape body now) eats more, runs faster, trains harder, lifts more weight, does a dirty dozen a couple of times, and happens to be skinny/slim by the majority of societal views. I’m #SorryNotSorry but strong looks different on everyone. Being healthy and fit is what I want to hear about. Even her bio on the O site doesn’t have the same type of structure as that of the other Muses. And no, not everyone profiled or working with O has to resonate with every Volee member or every O runner. We have sponsored HV pros that I do not follow nor does what they have to say inspire or motivate me. I respect their presence & ability, of course. And then we have HV whom I WISH they would tell their story because I think it could make so many women say, yes, I have just as busy of a lifestyle or I’m in school now & it’s so good to see how a pro attacks her training in this situation! I am also well aware that I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I am a normal person, not a pro, that loves this sport, misses what my body used to do, and have goals for what I want to get done. I’m not a big deal & I’ll always happily say hi to anyone regardless of social media presence. Everyone is human at the end of the day, after all. If what I say or do gets someone to get out the door and make themselves a healthier, happier, more fit human being, then I am grateful to have had the opportunity to bring some positivity to them. #AlwaysBeKind is a huge part of my life.
I get it. She is speaking out to a community of fuller-figured women that may not feel they belong as an athlete & telling them that they do. And that’s wonderful. I agree 110% that needs to be happening. But this is a sport I love. I want to hear about the love for the run no matter what your pace. I’m a huge fan. My friends run with various teams for a living, for fun, or for a different sport. I love learning about everything they do. I’m happily competitive and just want to be the best version of me that I can be even though I’ll never be an American Olympian (unless, yanno, Pakistan decides that they’ll dual-citizenship and somehow I get into the political game to be appointed HAH… well, I’d think twice, but story for another post). But I will always cheer for EVERYONE no matter what their pace. I’m the biggest cheerleader there is. And even if I’m a nasty person with a ton of #swagger during a race, I will always be all smiles after leaving my heart on that course. Every story I have read about a fellow Volee member, I have heard their love for the run in their post. I basically hunted Natalie Fixler down to add her on FB because her story inspired me. She’s not a pro. She’s not super speedy. But she had perserverance. I think we all know running is hard. It’s not easy. We all know there are good runs & bad runs. I want to know that the runs mean something to you. That you love this sport, the way I love this sport. I want to know what drives you.
It’s late. I have to be on set in the am. And I probably went off on a zillion tangents. But I’ve had a zillion conversations regarding this situation since it came up. And it feels petty compared to what is happening in the world, for the big picture in life, but I love this team. It saved my racing. It brought me back to a sport I love. It’s made me new friends and given me the greatest experiences (Olympic Trials, anyone?! Bird camp? I could go on and on!) and I think everyone on Volee is pretty awesome & has a story to tell. I want to hear them. All I ask is for genuine love from anyone. That’s all. Xo
HUWO,
Love love love to all,
Aysha

A member wrote that she doesn’t feel supported at races, running a slower marathon than most of the team, because no one was waiting at the Oiselle Cowbell Corner (cheer location). My response (5:30 refers to a full marathon pace, not a per mile pace):

You’re not the only person who has said this about missing a Cowbell Corner. I reached out to another woman on the team who mentioned that as well. I feel awful knowing that you or anyone misses the corners. I know that our NYC leaders had everyone on tracker at NYC 2 years ago and they made hella sure that we waited on everyone- a bird running 5:30 pace if I remember correctly was so happy we waited… and I remember tweeting out that this made me love this team to see that happen. I was on my feet for over 6 hours this past weekend and tweeted a newfound respect for anyone on their feet running a marathon that long (Kara liked the tweet if it makes you feel better). Anyways, I hope that the next time you run a marathon the O birds in charge of CC are sure to wait for you. And if you run NYC please let me know and I will stay for you with the birds!!!

Jan 26, 2017:

Me: I thought that our dues money for Volee went to the pros… I LOVED when I joined that my money would be helping Kate Grace & those like her get to the Olympics (she was the first person I knew on Oiselle) … Obviously my gamble paid off lol 😉 But honestly, if parts of my dues are going to sign influencers and support them… I would hope that we would be told of such a change. If indeed these Muses are being paid.

Lesko: Hi! More communication to follow tomorrow, but I want to clarify a few points of misunderstanding: The $25 of the Volée membership goes to the Emerging Elite Fund, which supports only the Haute Volée. Please see our list of 37 HV on the http://www.oiselle.com/athletes/elites  team page. These are athletes looking to break into the next higher level (Pros!), and the Emerging Elite Fund directly and concretely affects how many HV we can support. The Volée should feel very proud of and involved with the Haute Volée’s opportunities! Please see many blogs on this topic, including Megan Rolland’s most recent one (http://www.oiselle.com/blog/megan-rolland). Our Pros (Kara, Lauren, Devon, Steph, Brit, and previously Kate) are not supported by the Emerging Elite Fund. Neither are our Muses.

“Our team mission is also on the team page.
Since day one, our mission has been the same: to create a sisterhood of support at a variety of levels from beginners to professionals, from the roads to the trails to the track. We are committed to fostering a team that challenges, supports and empowers runners of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Each of our stories are interwoven into one collective voice and that voice is behind every mile and every individual flight.
Lesko”

My response to a comment about Kelly’s health due to her physical appearance:

Being in the fashion industry, I could expand on this about a zillion times… on both ends of the spectrum. Being a runner I hope that we can all continue to urge for health to be a priority. Trust me when I tell you a part of me is always debating to publicly publish my bloodwork just to prove that I’m healthy on the days or points in time I feel overly attacked.

In response to a comment about seeking transparency from our own team (anonymous): I would have to agree. We are constantly encouraged by Oiselle to engage in open and honest dialogue. It is difficult to navigate a topic that has so many different angles and emotions, and it’s unkind to criticize differing opinions.
Me: Thank you XXX. The need for transparency in our sport (running, USATF, elite levels) is something Oiselle has advocated for from the beginning. I don’t think it’s wrong to request that from the company we race in solidarity with regarding this choice.
After all that was said and done:
Sally: Oiselle has a long history of involving and highlighting many types of women in our business. Not just modeling and advocacy, but also in areas behind the scenes such as women lawyers, artists, and investors.

With these partners, it runs the gamut: Volée, non-Volée, people we’ve known a long time, some we’ve just met, serious runners, recreational, slow, fast, etc. By no means is it a perfect model of inclusion, but we’re committed, and we’ll be doing more – especially as it relates to diverse body sizes/shapes and ethnicity.
The first point in our manifesto is “Build the sisterhood.” And in doing that, treating each other with dignity and respect is our number one requirement. From where I sit, a thread on the team portal to question the value and role one of our teammates plays is incredibly harmful.
Kelly is a valued addition. As Lesko described, Kelly is not connected to the Emerging Athlete Fund. If you find your Volée experience is diminished by our working with Kelly, and you are unhappy, please feel free to contact Lesko or Feather for a refund of your membership, with no hard feelings on our end. Life is short, positivity is calling.

Lesko: Hello all! Thank you for your comments and input. Please know that we have read them and find many to be helpful. We are talking things through as a team, and we are always looking to improve. Please know that we are planning on deleting this thread to protect everyone involved. We are always available for direct feedback and your input. Team love. Lesko
Sadly, the questions, criticisms, and critical feedback we wanted to address with Oiselle were directly curtailed with Sally’s statement above. We shouldn’t have to feel as though we have only two choices with Oiselle: remain silent when something isn’t clear, or leave the team. We don’t have to agree 100% with everything a company does, but this specific company branded itself as the one that calls to light the injustices of the sport. This specific running company prided itself on demanding transparency and clarity from the governing bodies of this sport and other running retailers at all levels. But would not provide the same answers they’ve sought when the requests for clarity came from within.
I want to touch lightly on the topic of bullying, as it was addressed on the Ning forum and in Oiselle’s blog post:
Anonymous O member: “I’m going to add here what I wrote in the FB post because I think it’s very important:
There is a difference between being mean and expressing you have a different opinion than what oiselle has chosen to do. I haven’t felt comfortable saying anything about Kelly because I feel like everyone on the volée loves kelly and they were going to get angry at me (and I know other feel the same way). I find it highly ironic that when people do say something expressing their difference in opinion on oiselle signing Kelly, others said it was mean, criticizing or bullying. It is not personally offensive to others to have a different view/opinion. If this is not a space for open discussion and a difference in opinion, it is not the sisterhood I believed it was.”
Questioning a role that was not precisely defined in many aspects, never directly contacting the member in question, abiding by the requested routes of conversation within Oiselle (Megan Murray asked me to email her after I tweeted the incorrect label for the Strava panel, which I did) and following the leadership’s requests for subsequent questions/comments was met with a rescinded membership (for me). There is only one official team forum that has existed throughout this entire set of communication (Ning), and I have listed my statements above. I made no other statements regarding Roberts on Ning after this deleted conversation and I stand by what I relayed and have said. When it was publicly seen that Kate Grace was not racing in a Oiselle elite kit and a member tweeted about it, Dr. Lesko of Oiselle HQ responded to help clarify the situation on Twitter that Grace’s contract was up and she was a free agent. If something is listed incorrectly publicly in April about a role that elicited clarification requests in January with no definitive response and a muddled social media presence by the subject, why shouldn’t we ask the question about an incorrect title in a public forum? The first public statement that combined the words sponsor, Kelly Roberts, and, now “pro athlete” in any official Oiselle capacity (a now-named label in June other than the initial previously specified role of Muse) regarding the blogger was by CEO Sally, nearly 5 months after the question was first brought up in Ning. It was a sudden post on the heels of a public controversy, without the normal thoughtful rollout that Oiselle normally has in announcing their newest action with the company to change the way we look at sport. The status of “pro athlete” as applied to Roberts continued to be expanded upon the same day it was first stated via this lucky-in-timing request for commentary by none other than Mario Fraioli, a highly respected coach and writer in track and field, whose column I have come to genuinely greatly respect, even if I don’t agree with his stances at all times.
Having a different viewpoint from someone is not bullying. Respectfully stating facts is not bullying. Having a meaningful conversation and discussion contemplating many aspects of a situation is not bullying. Stating your opinions based on the facts, and respectfully agreeing to disagree is not bullying. My freedom to question what is placed before me is protected by the First Amendment in this country, it is a right granted to me by my birthplace here in the United States, and it is a freedom I do not take lightly. My freedom to express my beliefs and speak out for what I believe in is not punishable by death in the US, as it can be for speaking out in other countries around the world.
But calling someone slurs, wishing ill will or death upon them or their family members, making fun of their physical appearance, their race, culture, religion or lack thereof, encouraging someone to kill themselves, or demeaning someone for something beyond their control is unacceptable. It is one thing to state the truth and to have an opinion, and another to be ruthlessly mean. In the same respect, publishing a misguided person’s personal, non-public information in the hopes of shaming them and causing them harm is also unacceptable.
Recently, Nick Symmonds went on his vlog series and stated that whether or not he agreed with the rules of USATF, he always abided by them. (Follow along for his commentary here: starting at 1:00 in, he has every right to talk about trolling. He didn’t break any USATF rules, and has made every effort to know the rules of his sport.) He has put his money where his mouth is, literally, risking losing out on potential monetary bonuses in racing at Worlds from when he spoke out against USATF for their lack of transparency and clarification about a team event.
With the new information presented this past week, at this point I will wonder aloud, as was asked in the initial Facebook thread in We Love Oiselle, if the residual salary that Kate Grace left behind is the same budget/allocation pool that has granted Kelly Roberts monetary reimbursement in her contract to “pay her bills” as the now CEO-stated “pro athlete”. I do not expect or request an answer, of course, but I am allowed to curiously contemplate. I am perfectly content with the fact that my membership fee contributed to those Haute Volee elites (including one 2x Olympian Maria Michta and many others whom I have watched race with great enthusiasm) and their dreams. In the meantime, I simply hadn’t purchased from Oiselle for months (with the exception of Spandos, because Kara Goucher, elite marathoner & woman I admire for her courage in speaking out, wore them and I am only human with marketing, but I sold them to another teammate soon after). I wholeheartedly agree with Kara’s statement about banditing here.

And to think, all of what has been stated above started in January with this simple comment on Facebook by a Oiselle member, “I hope Oiselle is putting as much effort into re-signing Grace as they are their #sportsbrasquad. #SorryNotSorry.” For those of you who aren’t runners, Kate Grace is an Olympian, formerly sponsored by Oiselle, now signed to Nike, who made it to the Rio 2016 800m finals. Her performances in 2016 were nothing short of phenomenal, from her first-ever podium finish at the Olympic Trials to earning PR’s on her way to the finals at the 2016 Olympic Games. I don’t believe you will find anyone to validly counter the label that Kate Grace is a true elite professional athlete in track & field. Another Oiselle member stated on the same initial sets of January threads, “It seems that we traded our Olympian for a blogger. (I do not mean that harshly, it just is what it is.)”.

Sure seemed that way from when we first started asking questions, didn’t it? Judging by what the CEO of Oiselle said in this article by Mario Fraioli, placing Roberts alongside the same pro runners Grace used to be amongst, we weren’t wrong. As for the topic of bullying, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. More to come.

One Love. Run Love. Xo.

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Published by

ayshamirza

Aysha is a sometimes writer, full-time cheerleader for #TrackNation who has an affinity for modeling on high-fashion runways in Vogue and formerly coached Olympian Kara Goucher on the art of the selfie in her spare time. Her educational background involves a serious love of science and medicine, with a dual-degree in Cell Biology & Neuroscience/Psychology, and accompanying research in Stem Cell Biology. Founder of #MuslimModelsMatter, #StrongInMyMakeup & an advocate for #RunnersAgainstCheating, Aysha believes that #StrongLooksDifferentOnEveryone & won't hesitate to remind others of this truth. She is based in NJ/NYC and currently coached by Rob DeCarlo. Her most epic run was her first marathon, NYC 2013. But her heart is rooted in racing 5ks, cross country and as a miler on the track, where she happily earned 2 NCCWMA silver medals representing the United States in the 1500m & 800m August of 2017. Current dreams include racing at the Olympic Trials exhibitions one day. Oh, and a BQ/Boston Marathon when she backs off the return to speed. You can tweet her some love and contact her with @ModelAyshaMirza.

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