Several unconfirmed reports last week indicated that Nike would take over as the official apparel supplier of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until the end of 2016, covering the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, as well as the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Nike said it had been in discussions with the IOC but declined to comment further on what it described as “speculation on a wider partnership” with them.

Mizuno has been supplying apparel for the IOC since 1995, but apparently the Japanese company did not want to renew the agreement because it would have prevented it from becoming a partner of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics – as was the case ahead of the Japanese capital's failed bid for the 2016 Games.

Since it has ended its partnership with the IOC, Mizuno has been reportedly confirmed as official partner of the new Tokyo bid. Masato Mizuno himself, whose family controls the eponymous company, is vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, leading Japan's campaign to host the 2020 Games. Tokyo previously hosted the Olympics in 1964.

The IOC deal is highly political but relatively low-key in terms of the actual visibility that the sponsor enjoys, as it consists of supplying sports garments to the organization's officials. It does not cover the apparel worn by the personnel at the actual Games, as was the case for Adidas in London. and as it should be for Nike in Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 2016.