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Swedish athletes to sport H

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Swedish fashion giant H&M said Wednesday it had signed a four-year deal to clothe Sweden's Olympic athletes as the company moves to boost a previously limited range of sportswear.

According to the agreement, the company will design outfits for the Swedish teams at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, next year, and at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The collection will include all clothing worn at the events' opening and closing ceremonies, as well as a "full and extensive wardrobe ... to wear in the Olympic village for both training and leisure," it said.

Earlier this year the company said it would design its first line of tennis wear together with Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych, and its underwear collection was recently promoted by British football star David Beckham.

The company said it would launch a new range of sportswear in January next year, one month before the games in Sochi.

H&M and Spain's Inditex are currently neck and neck in a battle to dominate the world's fashion industry.

The Swedish company posted higher turnover last year, but Inditex -- owner of the Zara brand -- has twice as many shops and is growing at a faster pace.

hh/nsb

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130417/swedish-athletes-sport-h