ADIDAS

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Christoph Von Wilhelm Dassler was a worker in a shoe factory, while his wife Pauline ran a small laundry in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, 20 km (12.4 mi) from the city of Nuremberg. After leaving school, their son, Rudolf “Rudi” Dassler, joined his father at the shoe factory. When he returned from fighting in World War I, Rudolf received a management position at a porcelain factory, and later in a leather wholesale business in Nuremberg. Adolf “Adi” Dassler started to produce his own sports shoes in his mother’s wash kitchen in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria after his return from World War I. In July 1924, his brother Rudolf returned to Herzogenaurach to join his younger brother’s business, which became Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) and prospered. The pair started the venture in their mother’s laundry, but, at the time, electricity supplies in the town were unreliable, and the brothers sometimes had to use pedal power from a stationary bicycle to run their equipment. By the 1936 Summer Olympics, Adi Dassler drove from Bavaria on one of the world’s first motorways to the Olympic village with a suitcase full of spikes and persuaded U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to use them, the first sponsorship for an African American. Following Owens’s haul of four gold medals, his success cemented the good reputation of Dassler shoes among the world’s most famous sportsmen. Letters from around the world landed on the brothers’ desks, and the trainers of other national teams were all interested in their shoes. Business boomed and the Dasslers were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes each year before World War II.

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