Rumour Alert: Nike has not filed a case of Copyright Infringement against an 11-year-old Filipino girl Rhea Bullos…

False Sports

Rhea Bullos, an 11-year-old girl from the Philippines, captured the attention of the world a few years ago when images of her running barefoot in a school race with only bandages wrapped around her feet went viral. Unable to afford expensive shoes, the impoverished girl drew Nike’s “Swoosh” logo and the word “Nike” on the bandages.

However, some viral social media posts claim that Nike filed a copyright infringement case against the young girl once they became aware of the incident. An example of such a post on Facebook can be seen below:

FacebookArchived Link

In the above, post we can see a screenshot that says, “This little Filipino girl, at (the) age of 11, couldn’t afford a pair of running shoes for her school race. So she made them herself, using plastic and tape, and even drew a Nike logo on it. After her story went viral, Nike’s CEO travelled all the way to the Philippines and visited her in person in order to sue her for $200k claiming copyrights infringement.

This is not the only post on Facebook that is carrying this screenshot. You can see a number of such posts on Facebook in the screenshot given below.

However, in our investigation, we found the claim made by the viral post to be False. Here is the fact check:

Fact Check

We conducted an online search for Rhea Bullos and found numerous articles published about her since 2019. These articles detail how the 11-year-old girl competed in an inter-school athletics meet in Iloilo, Philippines, wearing nothing but bandages wrapped around her feet as she was unable to afford shoes. Despite this, she not only competed but also won three gold medals in the 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1,500-meter competitions.

The photos of Rhea’s barefoot feat were initially posted on Facebook by her coach, Patrick B. Valenzuela, on December 9, 2019. It was through his post that the world became aware of Rhea’s inspiring story.

After her story went viral, many people came forward and helped to Rhea and her team. One such company was Nike Philippines, who gifted Bullos four pair of shoes, a bag pack and apparel. 

Read the full report here – Philstar | Archived

The donations were made to the team with the help of locals. One such person who helped Rhea and her team was Joshua Enriquez. You can see Joshua’s tweet providing update on donations received. He can be seen with Rhea and her team.

We contacted Joshua via Instagram and asked him about these rumours. To which he replied, “Total lie. Never has this been ever reported. If not for your message, I wouldnt have know such nonsense was going around.”

After this interaction, he has also refuted this rumor through a post on his Facebook account. We tried to find when and where these rumors started, but we could not find anything in this regard. Though some people are laughing at the whole incident, the comments received on the posts show that they actually believed the story to be true. Some even expressed outrage and protest in the comments section. However, one user commented on the viral post that this was a false story created on a website (inaccessible now). Thus, it is possible that the post was meant to be a satirical post but was shared without any context.


The claim made in the viral post about Nike suing Rhea Bullos for copyright infringement was found False during our investigation. Although the post may have been intended as satire, it was shared widely without any explanation, leading many to falsely believe that Nike had sued a young, impoverished Filipino girl for copyright infringement.


Title:Rumour Alert: Nike has not filed a case of Copyright Infringement against an 11-year-old Filipino girl Rhea Bullos…

Fact Check By: Harish Nair 

Result: False