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Nike Athlete Keely Hodgkinson on Fashion, Fitness and the Future

Keely Hodgkinson was born to be a record-breaker. At just 19, the middle-distance runner and Nike athlete won the silver medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, knocking Kelly Holmes off the top spot which she'd held since 1995. After four years of training, Hodgkinson is gearing up for her return at the 2024 Olympics and we caught up with her to find out more about her journey, how Nike has supported her career and what inspires her off-track style.

"I've been with Nike since I was 17, which is almost five years now," Hodgkinson tells Hypebae. "Growing up, Nike was always the company I wanted to be with and wanted to be sponsored by so to have that happen at such a young age and still be on this journey with them five years later is a great feeling," she adds.

Speaking about her interest in fashion and style, the athlete explains, "There's only so much you can do when you compete, but I love to style my hair differently, add accessories, mix up my makeup and jewellery. It's become a much bigger thing in the sport now, I love seeing how we can all bring our personality in different ways."

Ahead of this summer's Olympics, Hodgkinson speaks about fashion, fitness and her future plans.

Read on for the full interview.

keely hodgkinson nike athlete running football
keely hodgkinson nike athlete running football

Keely, tell us a bit about your journey with sport and fitness. Where did it all begin?

When I was younger I used to swim, so I had really good basic fitness from that, that was my favourite when I was really young. I was quite sporty growing up and I used to try lots of new sports at school so it felt quite natural. My Dad was the first person to encourage me to try athletics, I was hesitant for a while but when I finally tried it, I loved it. Running was always my favourite part, I did try the odd shot-put throw but I've always been more into long-distance & middle-distance running.

At what point did you know it was going to end up being your career? 

When I was around 15, I won my first national title. I then raced and won the European Juniors the following year. That made me realise that I wanted to take athletics seriously as a career and I've continued along the GB pathway ever since. 

So, at what point did Nike come into the picture? What's that process been like? 

I've been with Nike since I was 17, which is almost five years now. They've been a great partner and supporter of mine, I've always enjoyed working with them. Growing up, Nike was always the company I wanted to be with and wanted to be sponsored by so to have that happen at such a young age and still be on this journey with them five years later is a great feeling. In the last few years, I've worked closely with the team over in Portland to share my thoughts and feedback on new products. I've really enjoyed that side of the process, it's so exciting to see the steps that go into creating the products I wear on track.

Sport style and fashion have always been of interest to you. How would you describe your off-track style? 

I love to experiment with style so I wouldn't say have a particular style I stick to, I like to put different pieces together as a form of self-expression. I love going thrifting and finding vintage pieces, especially designer vintage pieces, and mixing that with other items in my wardrobe. 

It's a lot of fun and a nice thing to do off the track but I also like to add a little something to my track looks, too. There's only so much you can do when you compete, but I love to style my hair differently, add accessories, mix up my makeup and jewellery. It's become a much bigger thing in the sport now, I love seeing how we can all bring our personality in different ways. 

keely hodgkinson nike athlete running football
keely hodgkinson nike athlete running football

In the past, you've spoken about your love of vintage designer pieces. What are some of your favourite pieces that you've found recently? 

I've just recently found a vintage denim Louis Vuitton bag. I got it from Sweden. It took me so long to find, I've been looking for it for ages! I like vintage pieces because not many people have them, I think it's also a nice investment and I always mix them in with everyday items I already have in my wardrobe, especially sportswear style pieces, I've also been layering a lot of items with Nike sports bras recently.  

Given the rise of trends like blokecore and gorpcore, it feels like both sport and fashion are working much more closely together. How does that impact you as someone with an interest in both? 

There's so many trends and they change so quickly that it's hard to keep up with, but I think if you find one that you love then just go with it, be playful and have fun! Personal style is just that, it's personal to you, so I am never afraid to put my own spin on a trend I've seen. For example, I love mixing my fashion pieces with sportswear to add a little flair, especially when it comes to sneakers. I've been wearing the Nike x sacai Waffle sneakers a lot recently, I love them. 

You've got a pretty big year lined up for 2024. How are you preparing and what are you most looking forward to? 

I'm really looking forward to the Paris Olympics. Since I was young, and on my journey as a professional athlete, I always thought Paris would be the one that I would really be able to go for. I then completed in Tokyo which was amazing, so I see that as an added bonus! I've been back and forth from South Africa this year for training camp to make sure I am as prepared as possible for the summer. It's a long process for a two-minute race, but its worth it and I can't wait.