Bridgestone Americas Inc. is getting ready for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo by sponsoring seven Team USA Olympians and Paralympians.
"Bridgestone is committed to improving the way people move, live, work, and play, and these efforts are reflected in our support of the Olympic and Paralympic movements and their world-class athletes,” says Gordon Knapp, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas.
"While our new Team Bridgestone ambassadors certainly have an impressive list of athletic accomplishments, we are most excited to celebrate the personal journeys behind their achievements. These remarkable individuals have unique experiences to share that can help motivate people of all backgrounds and abilities to overcome obstacles and chase their dreams."
The Team Bridgestone athlete ambassadors were selected based on criteria related to the company’s core values, their personal stories, performance attributes and community involvement. Each athlete will receive financial support and access to Bridgestone products and technologies. They also will participate in community, customer and employee activities before, during and after the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The following seven athletes have won a combined 48 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
1. Scout Bassett (Para track and field). Bassett is a three-time U.S. national champion in the 100-meter event and a world championship bronze medalist in both the 100-meters and the long jump. She competed at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, placing fifth in the 100-meter event and tenth in the long jump. She lost her right leg in a chemical fire as an infant, then was abandoned and subsequently spent seven years in a government-run orphanage in Nanjing, China. In 1995, she was adopted by an American couple from Michigan.
2. Jordan Burroughs (wrestling). Burroughs won his first national championship as a senior in high school, then became a two-time undefeated Division I national champion and a three-time All-American in college for the University of Nebraska. He won the U.S. Open at 74 kilograms (163 pounds) just three weeks after his final college match. He won his first world championship at 74 kilograms in 2011, becoming just the fourth wrestler ever to win a NCAA championship and world championship in the same year. Burroughs won gold at 74 kilos at the Olympic Games London 2012 and has since added three more world championships. He is fresh off his third Pan Am Championships title.
3. Allyson Felix (track and field). Felix is the most decorated athlete in track and field history and a four-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) for Team USA. Over the course of her storied career, Felix has won nine Olympic medals (six gold, three silver), 16 world championship titles, and still holds a world record as a member of the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team at the Olympic Games London 2012. While she has competed in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, and the 100- and 400-meter relay events, she now focuses on the 400-meter and team relays.
4. Missy Franklin (swimming). Franklin is a six-time Olympic medalist. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London she won five medals (four gold, one bronze) and broke the world record in the 200-meter backstroke. In her two years of college competition at UC Berkeley before turning pro, Franklin won four individual NCAA titles and helped the school win the 2015 NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Team Championship. Franklin made her second U.S. Olympic Team in Rio in 2016, where she earned her fifth career gold medal as part of the 4x200m free relay team. She retired from competitive swimming in December 2018 due to chronic shoulder issues, but continues to champion her sport through speaking engagements and her work with various foundations.
5. Will Groulx (Para-cycling). Groulx is a four-time Paralympian and six-time Paralympic medalist. He won three medals (one gold, two bronze) while competing for Team USA in wheelchair rugby at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games before transitioning to Para-cycling in 2013. Groulx earned three more medals (one gold, two silver) at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. He sustained a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident; while recovering he read about the Paralympic Games and vowed to one day compete himself.
6. Jessica Long (Para swimming). Long is the second-most decorated Paralympian in U.S. history with 23 medals (13 gold). She first competed in the Paralympic Games in 2004 in Athens as the youngest athlete on Team USA. She also has won 31 world titles and set multiple world records. Adopted from a Russian orphanage at 13 months old, Long was born with fibular hemimelia: She was missing the fibulas, ankles, heels, and most of the other bones in her feet. At 18 months old her legs were amputated below the knees so she could be fitted for prosthetic legs and learn to walk. This will be her fifth fifth-straight Paralympic appearance.
7. Ryan Murphy (swimming). Murphy won three gold medals in his Olympic debut in Rio in 2016, winning the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events and helping the U.S. win gold in the 4x100m medley relay. He also set numerous American and NCAA records while at the University of California, Berkeley, where he swept the backstroke events at the NCAA Championships for four straight years. The 23-year-old also swept the backstroke events at the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, and won six medals (three gold, three silver) at the 2018 Swimming World Championships in Hangzhou, China. Murphy is the world record holder in the 100-meter backstroke.
Bridgestone will partner with the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics through 2024. The 2020 games in Tokyo mark the third straight Olympic and Paralympic Games in which the company has worked with a roster of Team USA athletes.