Who is Asics’ newest sport star? Hint – she’s only 16

Candace Hill - ASICS 6

It’s said that you can tell you’re getting old when policemen start to look really young. But as I don’t meet many policemen, for me, it’s more about pop stars, movie stars, and sports stars… some don’t even look old enough to have left school. And occasionally they’re not. In fact, the newest name to make an impact and get a contract with a big sports brand is only 16.

Asics Corporation has just announced what it calls “a historic athlete partnership” for the brand, and also for the sport of track and field. Record-setting 16-year-old sprinter Candace Hill, who’s been dubbed “the fastest girl in the world,” has signed a comprehensive, 10-year deal with the performance running brand. She’s the youngest American sprinter ever to turn pro and will compete in her first meet as a professional – racing in head-to-toe Asics, of course – in Birmingham, Alabama, next month… and yes, she’s still at high school.

Candace Hill - ASICS 1

Hill made history this summer when she became the first female high school athlete to run a sub 11-second 100 metre sprint. Her time of 10.98 seconds, which she clocked in Seattle last June, would have given her a seventh place finish at the London 2012 Olympic Games and would have tied for silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Asics didn’t mention how much the contract is worth – but assuming she continues to live up to her early promise, the bucks are likely to be big – very big indeed, especially with the growing appeal of running for women and the on-going athleisure trend.

Until now, the mega-money in women’s sport has been earned by tennis players (there are seven of them in the Forbes list of the top 10 highest-paid women in sport, along with one racing driver, a mixed-martial artist and a golfer).

While those rankings aren’t likely to change any time soon, the earnings potential of other sports is growing. Hill’s age and oh-so-positive profile help to position her for long-term development.

But will it be a case of too much too soon? Well, Asics and Hill are very careful to emphasise how she’ll be continuing with her studies and going to college. “Asics will support her academic and athletic goals equally throughout our partnership,” the company said.

Candace Hill - ASICS 3

Candace Hill - ASICS 10

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