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Nike poised to renew Radcliffe deal after Olympic failures

LONDON - Long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe is set to have her four-year sponsorship deal with Nike renewed at the end of the year, after deep disappointment at the Athens Olympics and Kelly Holmes being tipped as her successor for the brand in the UK.

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According to brokers behind the lucrative deal, Radcliffe is set to make more than the £600,000 Nike paid for her original contract because her profile is much higher than in 2001.

Radcliffe's managed to grace the tabloid front pages in this summer's Athens Olympics, but not for the reasons she had hoped.

The British world record holder and pre-race favourite was leading throughout most of the Olympic marathon race before slipping to fourth position and finally pulling out, in tears, after 23 miles.

She was also hotly tipped to win the 10,000 metres five days later but again dropped out with only eight laps remaining.

There had been a great deal of speculation after all the bad press surrounding the Olympics as to whether Radcliffe would hold on to her various sponsorship and advertising deals, which included Nike, Quakers, Vittel, Flora, Norwich Union and Cadbury's "Get Active" campaign, encouraging kids to take part in sport.

Radcliffe lost out on her deal with porridge brand Quakers Oatso Simple, which features the strapline "helps you go the distance".

It was believed Nike would be the next to go because the sportswear giant chose Radcliffe over twice-Olympic gold medal winner Kelly Holmes in 2001.

It was rumoured that it would reverse the decision and pick Holmes in 2005 because she was the undoubted Team GB hero of the Athens Olympics.

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