Abby Wambach and Usain Bolt Star in Gatorade's Joyous Remake of Michael vs. Mia Ad

A classic gender equality story, modernized

"Five to 10 years ago, male athletes were the most visible endorsers. That is changing. That day for male athletes is gone."

That was Tom Fox, then head of Gatorade's sports marketing, back in 1999, when the sports-drink brand released the classic "Michael vs. Mia" commercial, pitting Michael Jordan against Mia Hamm in a series of cross-sport challenges, from tennis to fencing (but not, thankfully, baseball)—set to the old Broadway tune "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)" from Annie Get Your Gun.

Now, 22 years later, Gatorade and TBWA\Chiat\Day have remade the spot—with Abby Wambach and Usain Bolt in the starring roles. 

The new ad captures a lot of the playful spirit of the original, with modern touches like a Peleton-off and what appears to be a TikTok challenge. And it's got a worthy ending as well, which nods to the original.

Abby Wambach vs. Usain Bolt | I Can Do Better | Gatorade Zero

"This was just fun," Wambach, a six-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award winner, tells People magazine. "I was a kid growing up, watching the Michael and Mia commercials ... it was the first time I had ever seen in my life a woman being seen in the same vein as a man. And I think that, for me, gave me permission to believe that I deserved the same thing as men deserved."

Wambach, 40, and Jamaican sprinter Bolt, 34, are both retired now. But Wambach she got back into "training mode" for the Gatorade spot.

"My wife [Glennon Doyle] is like, 'Was this like what you trained for pre-World Cup?' " she says. "I'm like, 'Yeah, pretty much.' I'm just crushing it."

The spot promotes the sugar-free Gatorade Zero.

Check out the "Michael vs. Mia" spot here:

Gatorade | Michael vs. Mia
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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. He is the former creative editor of Adweek.

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