‘Champions of Innovation’ Exhibit Honors Sports Bra Inventors and Women Who Have Changed the World
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – June 22, 2022 — From world-famous photos from the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup to gyms worldwide, the sports bra has helped provide sports equity, health and quality of life for women and girls worldwide. In recognition of this invention and the contributions of women innovators, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Museum, in partnership with the global lifestyle and athletic wear brand Champion®, announces a new exhibit, “Champions of Innovation.”
This exhibit, now available for viewing in the newly reopened NIHF Museum, celebrates groundbreaking women including NIHF Inductees Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Smith, inventors of the Jogbra® — the world’s first sports bra.
To tell the story of the sports bra, this exhibit highlights its inventors and features artifacts that show its evolution.
Among the garments featured is a prototype replica of the original Jogbra, which was constructed out of two jockstraps. The original Jogbra was developed in 1977, when Lindahl wanted to develop a more supportive bra for greater comfort while she ran. She then teamed up with Smith, who sewed the original prototype.
The sports bra was patented in 1979. Miller and Lindahl commercialized the invention as the Jogbra and co-founded their company, Jogbra Inc., which was later renamed JBI.
The Jogbra launched a multi-billion-dollar industry. Playtex Apparel bought JBI Inc. in 1990, and in 1991, Sara Lee — the owner of Champion Products Inc. — bought Playtex and formed the Champion Jogbra division.
A wall-sized timeline spanning the Champion brand’s history traces how the brand has continued to raise the bar in comfort, style and innovation.
Another key feature of the “Champions of Innovation” exhibit is a panel honoring women in diverse fields who have persevered by meeting challenges with integrity. These icons include Wilma Rudolph, the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics; Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mount Everest; and Sonia Sotomayor, the third woman and first Hispanic justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Additionally, the exhibit features an interactive “Create-a-Champion” experience, challenging everyone to be an innovator. Visitors are invited to swap out pieces of Champion fabric to make their own designs, pair them with a number of inspiring qualities and then share their creations on social media using #createachampion.
“Champion stands for inclusion in sports,” said Maria Teza, senior vice president of Champion North America. “We’re proud to partner with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to honor women in sports and from all walks of life who exemplify an entrepreneurial spirit, and the heart of a champion.”
“At the National Inventors Hall of Fame, we have the privilege of honoring the lives and accomplishments of some of the world’s greatest innovators,” said NIHF CEO Michael Oister. “As we highlight women trailblazers in the ‘Champions of Innovation’ exhibit, NIHF is proud to honor these extraordinary innovators who are inspiring tomorrow’s leaders.”
The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is located at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Madison Building in Alexandria, Virginia. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., admission to the museum is free and open to the public. For more information visit invent.org/museum.
Since 1919, Champion has offered a full line of innovative athletic apparel for men and women, including activewear, sweats, tees, sports bras, team uniforms, footwear and accessories. Champion uses innovative design and state-of-the-art product testing to ensure uncompromised quality and innovative apparel for consumers and believes that champions are defined by how they carry themselves in sports and beyond. Champion apparel can be purchased at department stores, sporting goods, specialty retailers, and at Champion.com. For more information, visit us at Facebook.com/Champion, follow us on Twitter @Championusa or on Instagram @Champion. Champion is a brand of HanesBrands (NYSE:HBI).
About the National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Explore the NIHF Museum digitally in Google Arts & Culture’s “Once Upon a Try” project. For more information, visit invent.org. To nominate an inventor for Induction, visit invent.org/nominate.