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Updated Sep 27, 2012 - 9:42 am

Top 5 Nike commercials featuring female athletes

Nike is a company known for its brilliant advertising. "Just Do It," "Bo Knows" and the recent "Find Your Greatness" campaign are only a few of the company's eye-catching ads. Nike has sold billions of dollars in shoes and gear, but more importantly it has helped push female athletes into the spotlight.

Here are five inspiring Nike ads featuring women in sports:

"Voices"

"They used to say, 'That girl is crazy.' But then, I just kept winning."

"Voices" was a Nike campaign created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a law passed in 1972, part of which prohibited discrimination against women in federally funded sports activities. Title IX opened doors for women to play sports competitively in schools and qualify for scholarships. It was feared that athletic programs for men would suffer if women were given equal opportunities. Forty years later, "Voices" celebrated how far women have come in a relatively short amount of time.

"I Would Run To You"

Nike tried its hand at romantic comedy to win over female consumers. "I Would Run To You" is a Nike-powered music video, starring a woman willing to run across the country for her man. She makes the trek without even breaking a sweat. All in fun, her beau ends up in a hospital bed after a few miles. The heroine runs to him with the help of her fluorescent pink Nike running shoes.

"If You Let Me Play"

In the 1995 commercial, "If You Let Me Play," Nike strikes a chord with parents of female athletes. Young girls talk about statistics that prove how they're empowered through sports. The ad became a sensation after it received Oprah's seal of approval.

"Free Yourself"

Every athlete in the "Free Yourself" ad stops to give the camera a look that says, "beat that!" (And yes, dancers are athletic too. )

The Launderettes provide the soundtrack for this catchy and upbeat ad that has female athletes trying to one-up each other.

"I Feel Pretty"

Maria Sharapova may have won at Wimbledon in 2004 and conquered at the US open in 2006, but her good looks often overshadow her accomplishments.

In Nike's "I Feel Pretty," the Russian-born tennis player reminds the audience that, in the end, she's an athlete and not just another pretty face.



Nicole Pollard currently resides in Canyon Country, Calif.

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