BP America announced today that it will sponsor six U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes training for the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and Team USA.
“As a proud partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee, BP America is honored to help bring this partnership to life by sponsoring these six athletes as they pursue their Olympic and Paralympic dreams,” said Steve Williams, BP’s Head of U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Programs. “We are committed to providing these inspiring athletes with the opportunities, support and critical funding needed in their pursuit to earn a spot to compete in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.”
Two of the six BP-sponsored Athlete Ambassadors include 2012 Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones and 2012 Paralympic track and field athlete Tatyana McFadden—both of whom will continue in their role as BP-sponsored athletes as they attempt to join the elite ranks of Olympians and Paralympians who have competed in both the winter and summer and Games.
BP America first announced its sponsorship of USOC and Team USA in February 2010, and in 2011 extended its partnership with the USOC as its official energy partner through 2016. BP will also continue to support charities of the athletes’ choice in addition to local sports clubs that often serve as training grounds for future Olympians and Paralympians.
BP Team USA Athlete Ambassadors
Heath Calhoun, Paralympic Skiing – Alpine. Calhoun began competitively training in alpine skiing in 2008 and within a year, placed first in super-G and second in the slalom at the U.S. National Championships. In 2012, Calhoun won the silver medal in downhill at the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships. Retired Staff Sgt. Calhoun served in Iraq as a squad leader for the 101st Airborne Division. He was severely injured when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his Humvee in 2003, resulting in the amputation of both his legs above the knee. During rehabilitation, Calhoun learned about the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), which provides programs and support for injured service members. Calhoun is an advocate for wounded warriors and helped to get the Wounded Warrior Bill passed through the U.S. Congress in 2005.
Julie Chu, Ice Hockey. Chu is an ice hockey forward who has earned three Olympic medals and is seeking her first gold in Sochi. Playing with the U.S. women’s national team since 2000, Chu has won four World Championship titles and earned silver on occasions. When not training, she serves as an assistant coach to the Union College women’s ice hockey team.
Lolo Jones, Bobsled. Track and field sensation Jones was recruited to the sport of bobsled after the London 2012 Olympic Games. Jones said, “it felt like someone put me in a can and threw me off of Mt. Everest” after her first trip in a sled. The 100 meter hurdle Olympian, ranked number one in the U.S. and number two globally in 2010, successfully transferred her skills to the ice and was named to the national team just weeks after trying the sport. In less than a year, Jones has racked up silver and bronze medals finishes at World Cup events and took the gold medal at the 2013 World Championship.
Tatyana McFadden, Paralympic Skiing – Nordic. As a highly successful track and field athlete, McFadden is a three-time Paralympian with 10 medals. However in 2013, McFadden shifted her focus from the track to the snow, taking up the sport of nordic skiing. McFadden’s competitive drive and endurance transferred well to her new sport and she captured a national championship in her third race ever.
Kikkan Randall, Nordic Skiing. Olympian Randall has been on the U.S. Ski Team for a decade and in that time has become the most successful women’s cross country skier in U.S. history. Well into her skiing career, Randall continues to improve. In 2012, she became the first American woman to earn the World Cup sprint title. The following season, in addition to continued individual success, Randall teamed with Jessie Diggins to earn the United States’ first team sprint win and also helped her teammates to a first-ever World Cup relay podium finish.
Ashley Wagner, Figure Skating. Wagner is a two-time US National Champion, 2012 Four Continents Champion, two-time U.S. bronze medalist, and two-time Junior World bronze medalist. Wagner was born on a U.S. Army base in Heidelberg, Germany and has lived in various parts of the world growing up but considers Seabeck, Wash. home. Currently she studies sports journalism at Saddleback College.