Christina Clemons wanted new earrings to wear during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, so she stopped by Hot Topic last weekend.
The set that caught her eye was a pair of dangly Cool Ranch Doritos earrings that matched her blue Adidas uniform.
What began as a showcase of Clemons’ bold personal style has since landed the hurdler a new high-profile corporate partner. Doritos created a custom Cool Ranch bag honoring Clemons less than a week after she qualified for the Olympics while rocking her new snack-inspired earrings.
“Just call me Cool Ranch Clemons,” the 31-year-old unveiling her special bag of chips. On the front of the bag is an image of a smiling Clemons in her earrings after last Sunday’s 100-meter hurdles finals. On the back is the slogan: “For those who keep it cool even when running for their dreams.”
"I actually had no idea Doritos was sending me a bag with my face on it," Clemons told Yahoo Sports. "I thought they were going to send a care package or something but I definitely didn't expect this, so shocked is an understatement."
It's unclear whether Doritos intends to sell the bags with Clemons' face on them. Doritos did not return a message from Yahoo Sports and Clemons played coy when asked if the bags would soon hit stores.
"As far as what's going on from here, you all are just going to have to wait and see," she said. "I had to give you guys a snippet."
Doritos' decision to honor Clemons is fitting payback for all the free publicity she provided the company. Social media was abuzz about Clemons' earrings after she snatched the final spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the 100-meter hurdles by less than one hundredth of a second.
When Clemons logged onto Twitter after her race, she was surprised to discover a deluge of messages about her earrings. By Monday morning, she telling her more than 5,000 followers, “I need y’all to do your thing! We need to blow Doritos mentions UP.”
It can only boost Clemons' potential as a pitchwoman that she has a heartwarming backstory. The former 2012 NCAA champion in the 100 hurdles fought back to relevance in the hurdles after suffering a career-threatening injury during her first season as a professional.
As Clemons cleared a hurdle during a 2013 practice, she felt something in the back of her leg and she heard a sickening pop. Doctors diagnosed her with a ruptured Achilles tendon and told her she’d need a year to recover, a prognosis she initially misunderstood.
“I thought that meant that I could come back and be myself in a year,” Clemons told Yahoo Sports earlier this week. “I didn’t understand that he was saying I wouldn’t be able to do anything for a year until a year passed and I could barely walk the same as before, let alone run.”
Qualifying for her first Olympics at age 31 serves as the pinnacle of Clemons’ comeback. Not until the results flashed on the Hayward Field scoreboard last Sunday did Clemons know for sure that she had outleaned Gabbi Cunningham for third place by five thousandths of a second.
Tears of joy rolled down Clemons’ cheeks as she celebrated on the track and gave an emotional interview on live TV. That ensured extra airtime for Clemons’ distinctive earrings.
Said Clemons with a laugh the next day: “I honestly think people were more excited about me wearing Doritos earrings than me going to the Olympics.”
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