CEO Mark Parker came by Nike honestly, the way that all the early employees got there, as a “running puke” — “even more extreme than a running geek,” he says — lured by the siren song of an unlimited supply of revolutionary shoes. In the mid-’70s, he was a champion runner for Penn State, part of what was then one of the most scientifically managed track-and-field programs in the country. At 6-foot-4, Parker brushed the scales at 130 pounds. “I looked like a praying mantis,” he says.
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