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Debate

Can a Walmart-sponsored athlete truly compete with the big brands in track and field?

While sponsorship remains one of the most crucial avenues for athletes to earn a living, not everyone is so lucky to top the prospect list of the top brands. For Dylan Beard, his hopes of finding a name to rally behind his cause were even more bleak. In track sports, if you’re not one of the fastest stars, chances are you’ll be lost in the crowd. However, an unexpected savior rose to the responsibility of helping the 25-year-old pursue his dreams, and the community couldn’t be happier.

Beard is a Walmart employee who works at the company’s Wake Forest, NC store. This year’s winner of the prestigious Milrose Games, Beard was backed by Walmart itself at last Sunday’s Paris Diamond League and fans are understandably elated to see him finding the support.

Dylan Beard found his sponsors in his own backyard

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Beard showed up in Stade Charléty in blue gear, sponsored by Walmart for the 110mH event last weekend. The decision was made by the store chain following last month’s Team Trials, where Beard finished fifth in the men’s 110mH semi-final race. Dylan announced the news of his new sponsors in an Instagram post a week earlier as he wrote, “While I may not yet be an Olympian, I’m proud to leave the US Olympic Trials as an official Walmart Sponsored Athlete.

 

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A post shared by Dylan Beard (@thee_dylan)

 

Track is one of the most difficult sports where athletes have to fight hard to maintain their top spot on a weekly basis. However, even for the more prominent stars, who have stacked up on their accolades through dedication and perseverance, finding sponsors can become a tough job. In the relatively low-paying world of track and field, having a supportive sponsor is a rare thing, but Dylan seems to have finally found his camp.

The community shares its glee

And now, the fans have taken up the opportunity to note their elation to see how Walmart has stepped up to walk the road with one of their very own. “Very boss move! I hope this becomes the norm,” said Percy on X after coming to know how Dylan looked in the blue drip in Paris last weekend.

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Another fan thinks the collaboration will turn out to be a boon for both Dylan and his sponsors. Through Beard, Walmart can step into the territory that still remains uncharted for them, and as some fans hope, use its vast resources to help out a few more track stars along the way too. “It’s a Win Win for both him and Walmart,” reads the comment of Swavek, who probably can’t wait to see what new direction the Beard-Walmart venture takes in the coming days.

Only last month, the split between American sprinter and Olympian Fred Kerley and his former sponsors ASICS sent out a ripple across the track community, as fans speculated the icon to ditch Nike for Puma. Possibly taking note of that incident, one fan thinks that more opportunities from the likes of Walmart could help bring balance amidst the chaos that seems to have become the norm these days. “This is dope! Smart from Walmart, as well. More runners should look for these types of opportunities,” commented a fan-run page on X.

Another comment seems to have taken the moment to recall how Home Depot used to run a program for the benefit of their employee-athletes, that should make a comeback after Walmart’s latest decision. “Why don’t more athletes do these like this?? Bring back the old @HomeDepot Olympic program where they work part time and then have time to train and compete!” grunted the track fan.

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Paul also thinks that the leading brands should learn something from the matter at hand, and start to feel the ground under their feet for a change. “Good, shoe companies think they’re the most important thing,” says the fan, clearly not impressed by how things are handled currently.

What do you think about the entire affair? Do you believe Walmart just shed light on a path that was previously uncharted? Share your take on this in the comments!