Tag Archives: Nike

The Spirit of Love

Long ago there was this nobleman who was in love with a commoner, John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu (second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu) fell in love with his secretary Eleanor Velasco Thornton (Thorn). Theirs’ was a sad love story, which remained hidden and their courtship secret, until her death on board the SS Persia (torpedoed during the war) on their way to India, where the Baron was to assume command.

Baron Scott-Montagu could never marry Thorn because, he was already married but he wasn’t going to let the memory of his love fade away, he was going to immortalise her and how! Well, he was also an early pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine. His interest in cars and his solid financial status meant that he owned a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost and thus he asked his friend and sculptor, Charles Robinson Sykes, to design him a mascot for his Rolls Royce, in Eleanor’s image.


And so he did; a female figurine in fluttering robes, one forefinger against her lips – to symbolize the secret of their love affair and he called it The Whisper and attached it on the bonnet of the Baron’s Rolls Royce, as his personal mascot. It is now on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.


Later, when Rolls Royce was concerned about the other, what they considered inappropriate mascots that owners were attaching to their cars, they also sought the help of Sykes to create for them a dignified and graceful mascot. The initial brief was to create the mascot in the image of the mythical beauty, Nike, but Sykes, who wanted a more feminine representation, turned to the image of Eleanor Thorn and he called the first model the Spirit of Speed. He later described it as “A graceful little goddess, the Spirit of Ecstasy, who has selected road travel as her supreme delight and alighted on the prow of a Rolls-Royce motor car to revel in the freshness of the air and the musical sound of her fluttering draperies.” And that is how the Spirit of Ecstasy name stuck. She is also called “Emily”, “Silver Lady” or “Flying Lady”.

Sykes also later made the lower, kneeling version, to give a clearer view to the driver, and the new ones, since 2003, are smaller yet, and retractable as a safety measure.

And that is how, Baron Scott-Montagu’s lady love was immortalised. Eleanor Velasco Thornton – The Spirit of Ecstasy.


Woman Power – From the Company Named After the Goddess of Victory.

Do you know these following women? Well, at least you know one? Deepika Padukone, right? Yes, she’s not really known as an athlete but she did play badminton once upon a time before venturing into acting. Her sister is a golfer, though and her father obviously was an accomplished badminton player.


We digress; you must have seen them in the viral Da Da Ding (song by Gener8ion) video? But can you recognise the rest? You may be able to recognise Harampreet Kaur? The vice captain of the Indian cricket team, possibly Joshna Chinnappa too? She is amongst the top ten in the world in squash.

Well, here’s a list of who they are.

Joshna Chinappa: Squash player who is currently ranked 10th in the world.


Rani Rampal: Member of the Indian women’s hockey team. She started playing for India at the age of 15.


Ishita Malaviya: India’s first professional female surfer. That’s some achievement!


Jyoti Ann Burrett: Footballer who plays for the Indian women’s team as a striker.


Jaie Bhadane: Model

Naina Mansukhani: Song writer and singer

Tanvie Hans: Footballer who plays for English club Fulham Ladies FC. Since she holds a British passport, she is barred from playing for India.


Shwetha Subbiah: Personal trainer.

Gabriella Demetriades: South African model-turned-actor

Harmanpreet Kaur: Plays for the Indian women’s cricket team as an all-rounder. She is also the vice-captain. She’s also in the Big Bash.


Smriti Mandhana: Opening batsman of the Indian women’s cricket team.


Shubhlakshmi Sharma: Plays for the Indian women’s cricket team as an all-rounder.


Shweta Hakke: Sprinter.




Nike deserves all the good publicity for bringing these athletes to the nation’s attention. We are about a month away from the Olympics and many of these women would be there, some not. We even have a few women who are medal hopefuls; it is amazing that Nike decided to focus on these oft ignored athletes. It’s this sort of corporate encouragement that id needed for the women who represent our nation in their sport of choice.

Of course, Nike used a few non athletes, and of course they used a famous actress, but at least they got people talking and curious about the other sportswomen in the advert. If Nike didn’t use a ‘known’ face, maybe the advert would never go viral and people wouldn’t even notice the rest of the athletes. Kudos to Nike, for a trailblazing marketing campaign, that gave the long due limelight to our sporting heroines! And Nike as well, of course!