PLANO, Texas, March 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) announced today the addition of USA Track & Field and U.S. Paralympics Track & Field stars Gabby Thomas and Ezra Frech to its lineup of Team Toyota Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
"The additions of Gabby Thomas and Ezra Frech to our already impressive list of accomplished Team Toyota athletes is something we're all very excited about as we prepare for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024," said Lisa Materazzo, group vice president, Toyota Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. "Everyone at Toyota proudly supports all members of Team Toyota and these additions to the family will continue to allow our message of freedom of movement for all to resonate through various disciplines."
Thomas is a two-time Olympic medalist, earning silver in the 4x100m relay and an individual bronze medal in the 200m event. The 26-year-old Northampton, Massachusetts, native qualified for the USA Track & Field team in the 200m by clocking a trials record time of 21.61, which was the second fastest time in history and broke the Olympic Trials record. Thomas was a part of the 4x200m U.S. relay team that took home gold in the 2019 world relays. She also won the 300m event at the 2022 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix as a three-time defending champion. A 2019 graduate of Harvard University, Thomas medaled multiple times in the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including winning gold and breaking the collegiate record in the 200m in 2018. She continuously embodies Toyota's mantra of Kaizen (continuous improvement) as she is currently pursuing a master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology. With her hundreds of thousands of social media followers, Thomas continues to inspire others with her posts and sharing of her work on-and-off the track.
Thomas' work ethic through her college career has showcased her sheer determination as she graduated with a neurobiology degree and a secondary in global health and health policy. Thomas has also been focused on giving back in her life with lofty goals of transforming the healthcare industry with countless community efforts focused on resources available for all those in need when it comes to mental health issues.
"Toyota has continued to invest in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, and I'm so honored to be able to join Team Toyota as I prepare for the Paris Games," said Thomas. "Team Toyota is filled with so many talented athletes and I'm excited to have their support on-and-off the track."
Frech, born with congenital limb differences, has been a disability advocate since the age of four. Frech was missing his left knee and left fibula and fingers on his left hand. He received his first prosthetic leg at 11 months old and had surgery at three years old to remove the lower leg and transplant the big toe to his hand. He received his first running leg at four years of age and played a variety of sports throughout his childhood. His passion was basketball and he was playing at the club level prior to his shift to Paralympic Track & Field. Frech competed in the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, finishing fifth in the high jump and eighth in the long jump. He also participated in the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships as a 14-year-old in 2019 with a top finish of seventh in the high jump.
In an effort to ensure that everyone has access to sports, the 17-year-old Los Angeles, California native co-founded Angel City Sports and the Angel City Games, an annual, multi-sport competition with events in more than 11 adaptive sports open to athletes across the nation. Angel City Sports provides free year-round adaptive sports opportunities for kids, adults and veterans with physical disabilities or visual impairments.
"It's a great honor to be able to officially join Team Toyota," said Frech. "Toyota has truly become a mobility company and has invested so much in the Paralympic movement with projects such as the Toyota U.S. Paralympic Fund. I'm thrilled to be aligned with a company that shares my values and my mission to ensure sports are available to everyone."
Toyota continues to emphasize its vision of an ever-better society through developing mobility products and solutions that allow people to live life to the fullest. In partnering with Team Toyota athletes, the company has been able to share in this dedication and encourage others to do the same.
"Gabby and Ezra each bring a new, fresh motivational voice to Toyota's mobility message," said Dedra DeLilli, group manager, Sponsorship Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. "By bringing these extraordinary individuals into the Team Toyota family, we're not only able to support them throughout their Olympic and Paralympic journeys, but we're also able to amplify their stories and connect with people around the world who have a shared passion for sport."
In 2015, Toyota became the Official Worldwide Mobility Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 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 Skateboarding; U.S. Ski & Snowboard; USA Swimming; USA Track & Field; 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.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 65 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our more than 1,800 dealerships.
Toyota directly employs more than 48,000 people in North America who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 45 million cars and trucks at our 13 manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota's 14th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, Toyota currently offers 22 electrified options.
Through the 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.
Toyota Motor North America
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SOURCE Toyota Motor North America