Reaffirms Toyota’s Commitment to Olympic and Paralympic Movements
PLANO, Texas (December 2, 2020) – Toyota Motor North America is turning up the heat on the journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, welcoming four new winter athletes to the Team Toyota family: U.S. Olympians Erin Jackson and Chris Mazdzer; U.S. Paralympian Andrew Kurka; and Olympic Hopeful Alysa Liu. As a mobility company, Toyota is proud to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls in achieving their goals — because no matter the challenge, when a person is free to move, anything is possible.
“At Toyota, we celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games and support the athletes who compete — or one day dream to compete — 365 days a year,” said Ed Laukes, group vice president, Toyota Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “The athletes on Team Toyota inspire everyone within the company as they continue to defy odds, break down barriers, and challenge the status quo.”
After launching its global “Start Your Impossible” campaign prior to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Toyota continues to emphasize its commitment to creating an ever-better society through the freedom of movement. In partnering with Team Toyota athletes, the company has been able to share in this dedication and encourage others to do the same.
“We’re so happy to welcome Erin, Chris, Andrew and Alysa to the Team Toyota family,” said Dedra DeLilli, group manager, Olympic and Paralympic Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “They’ll be in the company of some of the world’s most elite athletes on Team Toyota, and we look forward to supporting them on their road to Beijing 2022 and beyond.”
Team Toyota winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes include:
Nathan Chen (Figure Skating): Skating since the age of three, Chen landed six quad jumps in the men’s free skate at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, becoming the first skater to do so at an international competition. At the same Games, he received a bronze medal as part of Team USA in the team figure skating event. The two-time World champion and three-time Grand Prix Final Champion completed his sophomore year at Yale University, and he is currently taking time off to train for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Red Gerard (Snowboarding): After learning how to snowboard at the age of two, Gerard became the youngest American male to win an Olympic winter gold medal since 1928 at Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, when he was just 17 years old. Gerard recently partnered with Copper Mountain to create Red’s Backyard, a new zone featuring rails of varying difficulty modeled after the 2019 Burton U.S. Open champion’s own backyard.
Erin Jackson (Long Track Speedskating): Jackson was named to Team USA after only four months of training on ice as a speedskater and went on to compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. She is the first black woman to compete for the U.S. Olympic long track speedskating team. A native of Ocala, Fla., Jackson is a 2015 University of Florida Materials Science and Engineering alumna, and trains in Salt Lake City as a member of the 2020-2021 Long Track National Team.
Chloe Kim (Snowboarding): At 20 years old, Kim’s achievements include four X Games gold medals and Olympic gold in women’s halfpipe snowboarding at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. In PyeongChang, she made history by becoming the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in Olympic halfpipe competition. Kim is world, Olympic, Youth Olympic and X Games champion in the halfpipe, and the first to win all four titles.
Andrew Kurka (Para Alpine Skiing): After an ATV accident sidelined Kurka’s Olympic dreams of competing in wrestling, he’s found success on the slopes and was even the first person in a monoski to ski the Christmas Chute on the North Face of Mt. Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. Two-time Paralympic medalist, Kurka won gold and silver at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in downhill and super-G, respectively.
Alysa Liu (Figure Skating): Skating since she was five years old, Liu became the first woman to win two U.S. titles by age 14, and the first American woman to successfully land a quadruple Lutz in competition. The Northern California native is also the first female skater to land a triple Axel and quad jump in the same program and has her eyes set on her Olympic debut in Beijing.
Oksana Masters (Nordic Skiing): A four-time U.S. Paralympian, Masters is looking to add to her Paralympic accolades at Beijing 2022 just six months after hopefully competing in Tokyo. Masters has competed at the Paralympic Games in both the winter and summer in Nordic skiing, cycling and rowing, winning eight medals overall. As a child, Masters had both legs amputated above the knee after she was born with birth defects as a direct cause of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine.
Chris Mazdzer (Luge): In his third Olympics, Mazdzer won silver at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the first U.S. medal in Men’s Singles Luge. Mazdzer has 24 World Cup medals, 8 National Titles and has been elected by his athlete peers to represent them on the USA Luge Executive Board, International Luge Federation Executive Board and at the IOC.
Toby Miller (Snowboarding): Hoping to make his Olympic debut at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, 20-year-old Miller won his first Junior World Championships in 2018. Snowboarding since the age of six, the California native’s accolades also includes the U.S. Snowboard Association’s National Championships in halfpipe and a bronze medal in SuperPipe Session at the 2020 X Games.
Alana Nichols (Para Alpine Skiing): Five-time Paralympian and six-time medalist, Nichols is the first U.S. female Paralympian to win gold medals at both summer (Wheelchair Basketball) and winter (Alpine Ski Racing) Paralympic Games. An avid snowboarder throughout her youth, Nichols suffered an injury at age 17 while attempting a backflip on her snowboard that caused her to become paralyzed from the waist down.
Amy Purdy (Snowboarding): Two-time Paralympian and three-time Paralympic medalist, Purdy won silver (snowboardcross) and bronze (banked slalom) at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. She lost both of her legs below the knee due to a bacterial meningitis infection and went on to become a co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports.
Rico Roman (Sled Hockey): A retired Army Staff Sergeant, Roman had his left leg amputated above the knee when wounded by an improvised explosive device while serving his third tour in Iraq in February of 2007. The two-time Paralympic sled hockey gold medalist made his debut on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in 2011 and went on to secure a spot on his first Paralympic Team in 2014.
Evan Strong (Snowboarding): Strong’s dreams of becoming a professional skateboarder were shattered just days before his 18th birthday when he was struck by a drunk driver in a head-on collision while riding a motorcycle which led to the partial amputation of his left leg. Strong’s success on the snow has won him gold (snowboardcross) at Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and silver (banked slalom) at Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Danelle Umstead (Para Alpine Skiing): Despite having no central vision and losing her peripheral vision, Umstead has found passion and success on the slopes where she and her guide (husband Rob) have been the first husband and wife duo to represent Team USA and win three bronze medals across their Paralympic Winter Games appearances. In addition to competing, Danelle is mentoring other disabled athletes and creating her own non-profit called Sisters in Sports Foundation.
Louie Vito (Snowboarding): Having attended a ski and snowboard academy from eighth grade through high school, it’s no wonder that Vito has been so accomplished on the slopes. In addition to being four-time Grand Prix overall halfpipe champion and two-time Dew Cup overall champion, Vito is also the first athlete ever to both co-host and compete in the X Games at the same time.
Torin Yater-Wallace (Freestyle Skiing): Yater-Wallace is a two-time Olympic freestyle skier and became the youngest medalist in Winter X Games history, winning the silver medal at X Games Aspen at age 15. After recovering from a serious injury that took him out of most of the 2018 – 2019 season, the eight-time X Games medalist made his return to snow in late 2019.
The roster of Team Toyota summer Olympic and Paralympic athletes can be found here.
In March of 2015, Toyota joined The Olympic Partners (TOP) programme of the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee in the newly created mobility category for 2017 through 2024. In addition to its relationship with the IOC and IPC, Toyota is a partner of Team USA; US Speedskating; U.S. Figure Skating; USA Hockey and the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team; USA Curling; USA Skateboarding; USA Surfing; USA Swimming; USA Track & Field; USA Triathlon; the National Wheelchair Basketball Association; U.S. Masters Swimming; U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing; U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing; U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding; U.S. Paralympics Cycling; U.S. Paralympics Swimming; and U.S. Paralympics Track & Field.
Fans can keep up with Team Toyota on Instagram (@TeamToyota).
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands plus our 1,800 dealerships.
Toyota has created a tremendous value chain and directly employs more than 47,000 in North America. The company has contributed world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 40 million cars and trucks at our 14 manufacturing plants, 15 including our joint venture in Alabama that begins production in 2021.
Through its Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.