SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With less than 30 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Visa (NYSE:V), the Official Payment Technology Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, is unveiling its full Tokyo Team Visa athlete program roster as it prepares to support and celebrate Visa’s largest group of Olympic and Paralympic athletes to-date. Since launching the Team Visa program in 2000, Visa has championed more than 500 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls, as part of overall efforts that empower athletes to be successful both on the field and off.
Team Visa Program for Tokyo 2020 - By the Numbers:
- 102 athletes, including two Visa employees from Visa’s Olympians and Paralympians in Business Development Program
- 56 female, 46 male, reinforcing Visa’s commitment to gender equality in sports, business and beyond
- 54 markets, including 19 with Team Visa athletes for the first time (Argentina, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, India, and Thailand, among others)
- 28 sports, including new sports: BMX Freestyle, Skateboarding, Sport Climbing, and Surfing
“The resilience and dedication that our Team Visa Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls have shown over the past year is nothing short of inspiring, and watching them turn the uncertainty into resolve is a mindset we can all learn from,” said Lynne Biggar, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa. “We are honored to support Team Visa – and all athletes competing in Tokyo – in what has been a longer than anticipated journey for them, but will undoubtedly remind us of the exceptional strength and character that is required to get there.”
Shining a Light on The Olympic and Paralympic Mindset
The resilience and unbreakable spirit of Olympic and Paralympic athletes can be seen in experiences of veterans and newcomers alike over the past year, spreading messages of optimism and positivity while staying dedicated to their training to compete on the world stage in Tokyo:
- Simone Biles (Gymnastics, USA) inspired global audiences as she became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in competition and, most recently, captured her record-setting 7th U.S. National Title, which marks one for every senior nationals she’s competed in since 2013. Off the gym floor, Simone also helped to raise money for COVID-19 relief.
- Sky Brown (Skateboarding, Great Britain), Team Visa’s youngest Olympian at age 12, is an unmatched source of optimism and strength on social. She also lent her vibrant personality to Visa’s “This Isn’t Easy” campaign, inspiring youth across the globe to stay safe during the pandemic.
- Katie Ledecky (Swimming, USA), while training was suspended, participated in Visa’s social media PSA campaign “This Isn’t Easy” that promoted safety measures and social distancing. She also visited children in hospitals virtually to cheer them up when hospitals were in lockdown.
- Noah Lyles (Athletics, USA) stressed the importance of social distancing for those who are immunocompromised and then put his creative energy and artistic spirit into encouraging audiences to find new hobbies – his was creating artwork and making music.
- Oksana Masters (Para cycling, USA) encouraged her followers to take care of themselves while quarantining, giving them an inside look into how she was spending her time in quarantine, with a focus on at-home workouts to stay healthy.
- Sean McColl (Sport Climbing, Canada) opened up on Instagram about how he was feeling emotional after the Games were postponed and applauded Team Canada for prioritizing physical and mental health. He shared daily exercise challenges to help others adjust to working out from home.
- Monika Seryu (Para Canoe, Japan) was having a tough time after the Games were postponed and applauded Team Japan for motivating and inspiring her to push forward. She also lent her vibrant personality to Visa’s “This Isn’t Easy” campaign, inspiring people across the globe to stay safe during the pandemic.
“When the decision to postpone the Games was made, I tried to approach with strength the uncertainties that lay ahead. With the support of my family, friends, coaches, and sponsors like Visa, I remained optimistic, even if it meant finding new ways to train – which presented some challenges with aquatic facilities closed. It also gave me an opportunity to focus on causes close to my heart, like inspiring my young fans and talking to them about education and the meaning of perseverance. That was special.” – Katie Ledecky
“It was hard to be stuck inside, but we took social distancing very seriously and made the most of it. Spending time with my family, keeping each other strong, playing guitar and just keeping a smile on my face. I also talked to my followers and fans on social channels about having a positive attitude, even if it meant some of our lives were flipped upside down, or in my case, my Olympic dreams were put on hold.” – Sky Brown
Empowering Athletes Beyond the Field of Play
Visa understands the importance of supporting athletes at the height of their athletic career, as well as the challenges often faced when transitioning to the next chapter. Building off its 35-year Olympic and Paralympic partnership, Visa’s Olympians and Paralympians in Business Development Program (OPBDP) offers a two-year rotational program that provides access to a variety of business areas at Visa, as athletes look to explore a professional career beyond sports.
In advance of an unprecedented Games, Visa is making history of its own as it welcomes two OPBDP associates to Team Visa vying for Tokyo 2020: 3x Olympian Mikel Thomas (Trinidad & Tobago, Athletics) and first-time Paralympian Ryan Neiswender (USA, Wheelchair basketball).
To learn more about Visa’s ongoing support of Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls, visit Visa’s Olympic and Paralympic Partnership page.
About Visa Inc.
Visa is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device. As the world moves from analogue to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information visit usa.visa.com/about-visa.html, usa.visa.com/visa-everywhere/blog.html and @VisaNews.