In the Olympic aftermath, record-breaking athletes aren’t the only ones in the spotlight. Nathan Sorrell, a 200 lb middle school student who starred in Nike’s polarizing “Find Your Greatness” ad (aired during the Olympic broadcast), is getting as much press as any gold medal winner.
IIN guest lecturer, David Katz, commented on the mixed messages sent by the ad, stating: “There is no hint of greatness in it — other than perhaps his commitment to do it…I would have preferred they showed his pursuit of greatness in a way that was not…so obviously impeded by his weight and so blatantly uncomfortable!” (Time)
Other health advocates were less reticent to applaud the ad’s message, including Rebecca Puhl, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity: “Nike challenges the stereotype that overweight youth are inactive, and shows that body size has nothing to do with a person’s ambition or ability to push themselves to achieve their goals.” (Time)
In light of these contrasting opinions, we opened the debate on our Facebook page, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Do you think the ad exploits overweight people, or does it show that body size has nothing to do with the ability to achieve a goal?”
I think that it is inspirational. We can all get better no matter where our starting point is! – Julie G.
People are people - one is not more deserving of love and recognition than another. Our media has us believing that if you don't fit their mold, you are not as worthy. I like this; it diversifies our view of humans, we come in all shapes and sizes but still have the same needs. – Ramona B.
It made me want to cry. I don't think it exploits overweight people at all. I think it shows a great example of someone trying to overcome a situation that was out of their control. A 12-year-old is not over weight because they choose to be. Kids need to be shown more examples of hope through effort in this society, instead of miracle diets and surgery fixes. – Nicole P.
I think it's great. Difficult to connect with a person who is already buff. Those of us who want to be fit and healthy, but are still working at it, relate more to this little guy. Love the ad! Quite inspiring. – Joyce T.
Loved the commercial and the young boy. He was on the Today Show this morning and I was happy to see that before he was told it might be an issue or controversial, neither he nor his Mother thought of it that way. They both thought it was awesome that he was asked, and that it might inspire other kids to move. – Cindy B.
I was inspired to see Nathan featured in a commercial that is normally reserved for the super athlete. Nathan represents millions of our kids today and he's a great role model. It shows that someone who looks like him CAN do it. This is not exploitation. "Regular" people are typically excluded when promoting beauty and fitness. It's now time for inclusion. Now, the "regular" people can relate to Nathan and believe a change IS possible. – Janis W.
Obese people deserve to be treated like capable individuals too. It is only once someone becomes empowered instead of a victim that change happens. We must stop shaming and hiding people in our society simply because of their body shape and size. All bodies and all people are deserving of respect and empowerment. – Rhian L.
I like the video and appreciate the message that we can ALL live fully. In too many areas, we divide ourselves into participants and observers/wannabes. This is especially true around body size. That's a division that doesn't serve us, and actually hurts. This kid will be his healthiest by allowing himself to move joyfully, regardless of size. As long as he's happy, and the interviews seen to indicate that, I'm supportive. – Linda T.
Thank you for sharing these thoughtful responses. To read all of the replies, check out the post on Facebook - and feel free to join in the conversation!