AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a nod to its products that help millions of motorists reach their destinations on a daily basis, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: GT) today announced the three medal winners of the Goodyear 'Get there' Award, a recognition program designed to honor those most responsible for helping American athletes achieve their dream of competing on the world's greatest stage in Vancouver. The program highlights the often little-known stories of those people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help America's athletes achieve their goals.
Goodyear's selection panel included World and Olympic Champion Bonnie Blair. The three medal award winners were selected from among 15 individual honorees representing each major winter sport discipline and recognized for their extraordinary efforts to help the athletes excel.
"I'm proud to be able to help shine a light on the incredible dedication and often behind-the-scenes contributions made by parents, coaches, teachers, spouses and others who make it possible for athletes like me to succeed on the world's greatest stage," said Blair, the United States' most decorated Winter Olympian, holding a record five gold medals and a bronze medal as well as 10 World Cup titles, 66 World Cup races, and 9 World Records earned during her legendary career. "The stories of the 15 individuals being recognized with the Goodyear 'Get there' Award, and the hundreds of other people like them, shows just how essential their support and encouragement is in helping athletes achieve their goals."
"Goodyear is committed to developing best-in-class innovations and breakthrough technologies that help consumers reach their destinations...or 'Get there,'" said Scott Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer, Goodyear. "What better embodiment of that philosophy than to honor those unsung heroes who have helped American athletes 'Get there' to the ultimate athletic stage."
The three medal winners, selected by a Goodyear panel spearheaded by Blair, will be presented with the special Goodyear 'Get there' Award and include:
Frances Bradley, Philadelphia, PA, for her support of bobsledder Michael Bradley
When Michael Bradley was 12 years old, Frances Bradley signed her son up for a youth bobsled program while vacationing in Lake Placid, New York. The intent of the program was to get young athletes into a training regime to help develop their talents enough to get them on a track to a career competing at the highest levels. For a span of three years Frances Bradley drove her son five hours each way from Philadelphia to Lake Placid to train. Thanks to his mother's dedication and commitment to getting Michael to training every weekend, Michael's bobsled career began to take off – he secured multiple medals in competition and showed his coaches his potential through competition and his training. With Michael developing into a serious competitor, Frances and the rest of the family dedicated their time, money and energy into seeing his dreams play out. At age 15, Michael began spending his winters in Lake Placid to train, giving his mother 10 hours of her life back each weekend; but it was his mother's extreme dedication to her son's dreams that enabled Michael to be ready for his shot at a medal.
Paul Marchese, West Coxsackie, NY, for his support of speed skater Trevor Marsicano
As a boy battling with depression in middle school, Trevor Marsicano used to get teased and bullied for being shy and having no confidence. With the help and support of his parents, Trevor made big changes in his life in an attempt to turn his life around. Among the changes: switching to home schooling and switching from playing ice hockey to focusing on speed skating. It was through speed skating that Trevor met Coach Paul Marchese. It was Paul who told Trevor that his talent and drive could make him an athlete worthy of a shot at competing on the world's biggest stage, giving him confidence…something Trevor never had before. In December 2004 during a World Junior Championship short track qualifier event, Trevor suffered a severe laceration to his leg from the skate of a competitor who had fallen in front of him. Trevor lost half the blood in his body and underwent two hours of emergency surgery, was unable to skate for three months thereafter and did not fully recover until almost a year later. With the strong support and help from Paul, Trevor was able to regain top form and successfully switch to Long-Track, where he not only made the team for the junior world championships, but won the 3,000 meter race and overall bronze medal. Perhaps the most interesting fact about the relationship between Trevor and Paul…
Trevor trains in Milwaukee and Paul is based in upstate New York. They stay in constant communication via phone and e-mail, trying not to let the distance affect their success on the ice. Paul's dedication has given Trevor a legitimate shot to medal in Vancouver.
Buzz Smith, Cape Coral, FL, for his support of curler Jason Smith
Buzz Smith has played an instrumental role in the life and development of Jason Smith, having raised his grandson since he was a young child in Minnesota. Buzz was retired by the time Jason turned five and was able to dedicate the time necessary to coach Jason in many sports, including youth baseball. But it would turn out that it was Buzz opening the doors of the Chisholm Curling Club after school each day for Jason and his close friend John Shuster to try the sport that would strike a chord in both boys. Both Smith and Shuster credit Buzz's dedication to helping them become better curlers and understand the importance of practicing as a major reason why they made the 2010 curling team. Jason refers to Buzz as his best friend and when his grandfather moved to Florida several years ago from northern Minnesota, Jason soon followed and found a job in construction so he could maintain his friendship with his grandfather. Now in his late 70s, Buzz is still Jason's biggest supporter.
"Our panel found it difficult to select just three winners from among the stories we read, as each individual showed an outstanding commitment to helping America's aspiring athletes 'Get there,'" added Rogers. "In addition to honoring the three winners, Goodyear is thanking all 15 honorees for their dedication and outstanding support by helping them 'Get there' with an award of a free set of top-of-the-line Goodyear high technology tires."
The 12 other Goodyear 'Get there' Award honorees include:
- Tom Steitz from Steamboat Springs, CO for his support of Nordic combined athlete Todd Lodwick and the USA Nordic Combined Skiing Team
- The Andover Outing Club and Eastern Ski Jumping in memory of Marianne Fairall -from Andover, MA - for their support of ski jumper Nick Fairall
- Bill & Cyndi Ligety from Park City, UT for their support of alpine skier Ted Ligety
- Erik Flora from Anchorage, AK for his support of cross-country skier Kikkan Randall
- Don Cook from Boston, MA for his support of freestyle skier Emily Cook
- Frank Carroll from Los Angeles, CA for his support of figure skater Evan Lysacek
- Bill Ruggiero from Harper Woods, MN for his support of ice hockey player Angela Ruggiero
- Jae Su Chun from Draper, UT for his support of USA Short Track
- Ted Uhlaender from Aurora, CO for his support of skeleton competitor Katie Uhlaender
- Jesse White from Carlsbad, CA, for his support of snowboarder Shaun White
- Ron Rossi from Lake Placid, NY for his support of USA Luge
- Per Nilsson from Lake Placid, NY for his support of biathlete Tim Burke
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs approximately 71,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 60 facilities in 25 countries around the world. For more information about Goodyear, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.
SOURCE The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company