Controversy can be a double-edged sword for any brand. It can draw attention and spark conversation, but it also risks tarnishing the identity and reputation carefully built over time. Tinman Elite’s ability to weather these storms rested on transparent communication, willingness to adapt, and a steadfast commitment to the principles that guided its formation—but we haven’t been perfect. The controversies became a catalyst for the team's evolution, prompting introspection and refinement of what we wanted to do for the team. We had an exodus from our team this summer; we had friends and teammates choose to leave in order to pursue other things. Initially, these departures were difficult to come to terms with. We were saying goodbye to people we'd spent years cultivating relationships with, and it was sobering to know that they felt like Tinman Elite was no longer the right place for them. To be blunt, it felt like this could be the beginning of the end. Were the cracks too big to fix? Was the culture dead? Did we still want to be doing this together? Our team had to rally around one another and decide what we wanted to feel when we looked back on this time together years down the road. It was clear that lots of honest and difficult conversations needed to happen, and they did.
Now, as the Olympic year approaches, Tinman Elite has another chance to earn our greatest triumph: sending an athlete to the Olympic Games. We’ve weathered controversy internally. And we’ve found that, rather than hindering progress, it has forged a team that is resilient, united, and hungry for success once again. Most importantly, we’re carrying a sense of gratitude knowing how quickly this could all be lost. This Olympic year feels like it’s going to be Tinman Elite's best yet, as the team enters the season with a focus and bond that only adversity can foster. Our athletes are not just competing for personal glory, but we’re carrying the weight of a team that has overcome challenges and emerged stronger.
When Sam showed up to practice and unveiled the gear for this collection, things just felt right. He always has a way of capturing the state of the team at the time and distilling that into design. The tree, nearly chopped down but still standing, felt apt in the face of the difficulty of losing friends and teammates. Change is difficult, but the team has used this opportunity to revitalize the culture and internal excitement.
In many ways, the clothes we wear every day at practice and in our lives represents the team and our role as athletes and people. We've been proudly wearing this logo for seven years. It's been a badge of honor to rally around, a symbol for the ethos we embody, and a mark to identify members of the team or supporters. Putting on this collection’s items, with the OG logo stamped on the front, brought me back to our first days in Boulder. The days where we would sit in the basement and daydream for hours on end of what we could accomplish. But the addition of the tree design on the back shows the resiliency and determination we’ve gained since our foundation.
We're still here. We're still standing tall.