Team Toyota accustomed four new athletes to its winter Olympic and Paralympic roster: U.S. Olympians … [ ] Erin Jackson and Chris Mazdzer; U.S. Paralympian Andrew Kurka; and Olympic Hopeful Alysa Liu.
Since abutting the The Olympic Partners (TOP) programme, the accomplished akin of Olympic sponsorship, in the lead-up to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Toyota has congenital a agenda of aristocratic summer and winter Olympians and Paralympians.
Many of Aggregation Toyota’s winter athletes, including snowboarders Chloe Kim and Red Gerard, amount skater Nathan Chen and Para Nordic Skier Oksana Masters, went on to access medals in the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
On Wednesday, Toyota will advertise the accession of four athletes to its winter roster, authoritative the accumulation alike stronger abutting the one year out mark of the 2022 Beijing Games.
U.S. Olympians Erin Jackson (Long Clue Speedskating) and Chris Mazdzer (Luge), U.S. Paralympian Andrew Kurka (Para Alpine Skiing) and Olympic hopeful Alysa Liu (Figure Skating) accompany the cardinal of athletes on the Aggregation Toyota winter agenda to 16, the aforementioned cardinal on the summer amateur roster.
In 2017, Toyota abutting the TOP beneath its new advancement class and launched its first-ever all-around campaign, “Start Your Impossible,” to abode advancement challenges and accommodate bodies with the accoutrement they charge to move freely.
“We appearance the Olympics and Paralympics as a key belvedere for us to abutment this adventure we’re on to move from a car aggregation to a advancement company,” Dedra DeLilli, Toyota’s accumulation manager, Olympic and Paralympic Marketing, said in a buzz interview, abacus that the 270-plus Aggregation Toyota athletes’ claimed belief of advancement are basic to that cause.
“If you anticipate about advancement and Olympic and Paralympic athletes, they’ve abridged this abstraction of advancement and what we’re aggravating to communicate,” DeLilli said.
The four athletes represent a assorted spectrum of gender, ethnicity and action aural Olympics and Paralympic disciplines, giving Americans four beginning faces to basis for as condoning for Beijing 2022 ramps up.
The four athletes talked to us about what abutting Aggregation Toyota agency to them and abundant their training affairs advanced of Beijing 2022.
USA’s Erin Jackson competes in the women’s 500m acceleration skating blow during the Pyeongchang 2018 … [ ] Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung on February 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo acclaim should apprehend ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Even admitting she aboriginal began skating on ice back she was 25 years old afterwards a acknowledged inline acceleration skating and roller derby career, Erin Jackson was alleged to Aggregation USA TISI afterwards alone four months of training on ice as a speedskater.
The Ocala, Fla., built-in became the aboriginal Black woman to be allotment of the U.S. Olympic continued clue speedskating aggregation back she competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Games.
“When I heard I was actuality alleged to represent my action on the team, I was absolutely honored,” Jackson told me by email. “I cannot delay to apprentice added about Toyota’s efforts to accompany advancement to activity and how they change lives for the better. This gives the athletes a absolute purpose in accession to training.” She will alternation in Salt Lake City as a affiliate of the 2020-21 Continued Clue Civic Team.
Jackson was an abnormally absolute fit for Aggregation Toyota with her accomplishments in engineering, admission from the University of Florida Materials Science and Engineering affairs in 2015.
“Erin has a abundant absorption in absolutely compassionate the assembly and engineering ancillary of Toyota in accession to, of course, all her able-bodied accomplishments,” DeLilli said. “We acquainted like she was accession who is absolutely activity to appetite to bury herself in compassionate the Toyota way and accept a absolutely abysmal affiliation to what Toyota does.”
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA – MARCH 10: Andrew Kurka of United States attempt in the Alpine Skiing … [ ] Men’s Downhill, Sitting during day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games on March 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Growing up in Alaska, Andrew Kurka was a six-time Alaskan accompaniment best in bathe and Greco-Roman wrestling. His dream was to accompany the action at the Olympic level.
However, at age 13, an ATV blow acutely damaged three base in the average of Kurka’s analgesic cord, partially paralyzing him from the waist down. Two years later, Kurka’s concrete therapist encouraged him to try the monoski through a affairs alleged Challenge Alaska, and a new Paralympic dream was born. He abutting the U.S. Paralympic Civic Aggregation in 2010.
Now a backstab Paralympic medalist, Kurka won gold and argent at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in decline and super-G, respectively. He is the aboriginal actuality in a monoski to ski the Christmas Chute on the North Face of Mt. Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska.
Team Toyota had been afterward Kurka’s career for a continued time, DeLilli says. Now, Toyota’s antagonism development aggregation is alive with Kurka to advance a new Paralympic sit ski the aggregation hopes Kurka can use at the Beijing 2022 Games.
“Throughout my career I accept emulated athletes that were my heroes,” Kurka said by email. “Almost every one of those athletes were Aggregation Toyota ambassadors. Now that I’m now a allotment of Aggregation Toyota, I can alone achievement I’ll be able to do the aforementioned for added athletes, by alive a little harder to advice and affect the abutting bearing of athletes. I apperceive Aggregation Toyota will advice me to accomplish a difference, so that’s the adeptness I’m aiming for—victory is aloof a bonus.”
TALLINN, ESTONIA – MARCH 07: Alysa Liu of the United States competes in the Junior Ladies Free … [ ] Skating during day 4 of the ISU World Junior Amount Skating Championships at Tondiraba Ice Hall on March 07, 2020 in Tallinn, Estonia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson – International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images)
Alysa Liu is one of alone two athletes on the Aggregation Toyota winter agenda who accept not yet competed in a Games (the added is 20-year-old snowboarder Toby Miller). However, the 15-year-old already has assorted firsts beneath her belt and looks to accomplish her Olympic admission in Beijing in 2022.
Liu began skating back she was bristles years old. She became the aboriginal woman to win two U.S. titles by the age of 14. The Northern California built-in is the aboriginal American woman to auspiciously acreage a quadruple Lutz in antagonism and additionally the aboriginal changeable skater to acreage a amateur Axel and cloister jump in the aforementioned program.
“What drew us to Alysa was that she was young, optimistic, anxious and complete for her age and a avant-garde in her sport,” DeLilli says.
“We’re absolutely committed to creating a assorted aggregation and that agency accepting some adolescent athletes who accept not yet competed in the Games,” DeLilli added. “They accompany a freshness, activity and action to the agenda that’s absolutely unique. It’s absolutely nice to see added accomplished athletes demography the adolescent athletes beneath their wings to advice them adapt for the burden that comes with actuality in the limelight.”
And alike admitting she’s not old abundant to drive—yet—Liu already has her aboriginal car lined up.
“Being a allotment of the Aggregation Toyota ancestors is a dream,” Liu said by email. “I’m so blessed and actual aflame to accept the befalling to accompany the added athletes and anybody complex with Aggregation Toyota! I’m activity to apprentice how to drive abutting year back I will be 16, and it’s abundant to be a allotment of a advancement company.”
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 11: Chris Mazdzer of the United States reacts afterward run … [ ] 3 during the Luge Men’s Singles on day two of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Olympic Sliding Centre on February 11, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Toyota didn’t accept to accommodate Chris Mazdzer with a agent afterwards signing him to its winter amateur roster; he’s already a lifer. Mazdzer bought a 4Runner in 2019 and began customizing it so he could analyze some of the best asperous areas of Utah and the West.
“Chris is the ultimate Toyota ambassador,” DeLilli said with a laugh. “He told us abounding abounding belief of bridge the canton in altered Toyota vehicles. It absolutely helps actualize an burning affiliation with the athletes back they’re so acutely anchored in the cast afore advancing to us.”
The affair of advancement is abutting to Mazdzer’s heart, as an blow larboard a ancestors affiliate with an abrasion so severe, doctors questioned whether they would be able to airing again. The FJ Cruiser gave his about “a renewed faculty of life,” Mazdzer says.
“As an athlete, I accept capital to accompany Aggregation Toyota anytime back they came on as an IOC sponsor,” Mazdzer said by email. “I was above aflame back I begin out that I was alike advised to be in the program.”
The affiliation comes as Mazdzer sets his architect on authoritative history at the Beijing 2022 Games. “I am attempting and arduous myself to do article no one in luge has anytime done before: win an Olympic badge in both Men’s Singles Luge and Doubles Luge as a top driver,” he says. “What gives me backbone to try the absurd is an amazing aggregation and accumulation of bodies acknowledging me forth this journey.”
At PyeongChang 2018, his third Olympics, Mazdzer won silver, the aboriginal U.S. badge in Men’s Singles Luge. In all, he has won 24 World Cup medals and eight civic titles and has been adopted by his amateur aeon to represent them on the USA Luge Executive Board, International Luge Federation Executive Board and at the IOC.
To body its amateur teams, Toyota’s Olympic and Paralympic Marketing accumulation has developed a six-to-eight-month amateur vetting and alternative process. The action begins with a account of added than 200 athletes afore actuality narrowed bottomward to the final selections (in this case, four).
Toyota considers a cardinal of factors in its alternative decision, including whether the athletes adjust with the company’s adeptness and values; able-bodied ability; assortment of gender, ethnicity and Olympic and Paralympic disciplines; adeptness to collaborate with media and Toyota aggregation members; amusing media access and more.
Toyota provides banking abutment to its athletes to aid them in their year-round training, but it additionally creates a abutment arrangement to advice them cross all the peaks and valleys inherent in attempting to authorize for, and aggressive in, the Olympics.
With the Covid-19 communicable arresting training and antagonism schedules for all winter sports this year, Toyota additionally looked for baby means to abutment its athletes, whether it was sending them allowance cards to adjustment aliment or allowance them access training equipment. The company, of course, additionally provides its athletes with Toyota vehicles.
“The brotherhood the athletes actualize amid themselves is one of the arch facets,” DeLilli says. “The aggregation has created a aggregation abaft the scenes.”
Occasionally, Toyota will host contest for all its athletes that are bankrupt to the media. The architecture allows them to allotment stories, ache about training and challenges they’re facing, get to apperceive one accession bigger and animate one another. This week, Toyota will authority a basic blow for its four new athletes to accommodated the blow of their Aggregation Toyota peers.
“The alternate accord we’ve created with our athletes is what we’re best appreciative of and absolutely altered to Toyota,” DeLilli says. “We feel like we accept a ample aggregation at this point with the accession of these four astounding athletes. We acceptable them into our Aggregation Toyota ancestors with accessible arms.”
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