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Sotheby's to offer $1M+ rare Bill Bowerman track spikes in sale dedicated to the Olympics
Bill Bowerman Handmade Prototype Logo Track Spikes. Estimate: $1M+. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- To commemorate of XXXII Olympiad taking place this summer in Tokyo, Sotheby’s presents The Olympic Collection, an online auction featuring the rarest memorabilia and collectibles spotlighting the achievements of legendary athletes who participated in the Games across the world of sport and which celebrates the unifying spirit embodied by the Games. Open for bidding beginning 23 July, coinciding with the opening ceremony for the world’s largest sporting event, the auction is comprised of more than 50 lots and is highlighted by two pieces of Olympic history: an extremely rare pair of ‘Prototype Logo’ track spikes handmade by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman for Canadian Track and Field sprinter and Olympian Harry Jerome in the 1960s and modified in the early 1970s (estimate $800,000/1,200,000); and a pair of Converse Fastbreak sneakers worn by Michael Jordan during the 1984 Olympic Trials (estimate $80/100,000), which helped catapult the basketball legend to stardom at the nascency of his career.

The sale also features Michael Johnson Worn and Signed “Gold Shoes” (estimate $30,000/$50,000) - which famously earned him the nickname “The Man With the Golden Shoes.” Throughout his career, Johnson won four Gold Medals at the Olympics. The sale additionally features Vince Carter Game Worn Olympic Jersey and Shorts (estimate $5,000/$10,000), as well as game-worn and deadstock sneakers, flags, magazines and more, with full contents of the sale to be revealed at a later date.

Highlights of the auction and will be on public view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from today through 14 July.

Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables, commented: “The contents of this sale are among some of the most remarkable Sotheby’s has ever brought to market. From ‘Prototype Logo’ track spikes handmade by Bill Bowerman, to the incredible pair of Michael Johnson “Golden Shoes”, as well as flags, cards, and game-worn jerseys and sneakers, this sale is a remarkable offering celebrating the Olympics, and the athletes that have participated in the Games over time. We look forward to revealing more as the Olympic Games draw closer.”


Made by Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman for Canadian Track and Field sprinter and Olympian Harry Jerome, this rare pair of track spikes made in the 1960s and modified in the early 70s represents an important chapter in the origins of the Nike brand. The present pair features the use of four prototype logos, which show Bill experimenting with the concept of a brand, and happen to bear a remarkable resemblance to the Nike Swoosh. The shoes feature Waffle soles under each set of track spikes – the first notable innovation introduced by Nike when they premiered the Nike Moon Shoe at the 1972 Olympic Trials. Very few pairs are known to exist, one of which is held at the Special Collections and University Archives of the Knight Library at the University of Oregon.

The waffle soles mark an important moment in the history of footwear, as Bowerman invented the design after being inspired by his wife’s waffle iron. The uppers of the present shoe show wear, but the waffles, spikes, and bottoms appear mint – Bowerman was constantly tinkering with his shoes, and modified the present pair with the current soles, after which point they were never worn again. Originally produced in the 1960s, Bowerman added the waffle sole in the early 1970s as Nike began taking form as a company.

Athlete and Olympian Harry Jerome set a total of seven world records over the course of his career, and took home the Bronze Medal for Canada in the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan – notably, the last time the Olympics took place in Japan.


Worn by Michael Jordan during the 1984 Olympic Trials, the present Converse Fastbreak sneakers made in 1983 are among the rarest Jordan worn and signed sneakers coveted by collectors (estimate $80/100,000). One of a select grouping of examples to come to market, the present pair was worn by Jordan during the Olympic Trials in the nascency of his career, and before his rookie season in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. After making the Olympic team, Jordan won his first Gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and again as part of the ‘Dream Team’ during the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.

Jordan wore Converse during his college years before he signed with Nike in his Rookie season. He preferred Converse as they were lower to the ground – a concern that he raised with Nike when working with designer Peter Moore to create the Air Jordan 1.

In 1984, the Olympic Trials for Basketball consisted of a mix of drills, practice as well as exhibition games against various groups of established NBA Stars. Jordan was selected to join the final team of 12 from a group of 72 players.

By the time Michael Jordan retired, he was a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, six-time NBA champion, a six-time NBA Finals MVP, a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a fourteen-time All-Star, a three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, a ten-time scoring champion, and a two-time Slam Dunk Contest Champion.

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