SAN FRANCISCO, CA – June 29, 2021 – 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 Team Visa for Tokyo 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
Team Visa’s Latin American and Caribbean roster includes:
- Delfina Merino (Argentina, Field Hockey)
- Paula Pareto (Argentina, Judo)
- Gustavo Fernandez (Argentina, Wheelchair tennis)
- Alison Cerutti (Brazil, Beach Volleyball)
- Gabriel Medina (Brazil, Surfing)
- Daniel Dias (Brazil, Para-swimming)
- Mariana Pajon (Colombia, BMX Racing)
- Kenneth Tencio (Costa Rica, BMX Freestyle)
- Luguelin Santos (Dominican Republic, Athletics – Track & Field)
- Daniel Alvarez (Ecuador, Athletics – Race Walking)
- Erick Barrondo (Guatemala, Athletics – Race Walking)
- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica, Athletics – Track & Field)
- Omar McLeod (Jamaica, Athletics – Sprints/Hurdles)
- Maria Espinoza (Mexico, Taekwondo)
- Alonso Edward (Panama, Athletics – Track & Field)
- Stefano Peschiera (Peru, Sailing)
- Adriana Diaz (Puerto Rico, Table Tennis)
- Mikel Thomas (Trinidad & Tobago, Athletics)
“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 Luciana Resende, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Visa Latin America and the Caribbean. “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:
- Kenneth Tencio (BMX Freestyle, Costa Rica) while training was suspended, Kenneth participated in Visa’s social media PSA campaign “This Isn’t Easy” that promoted safety measures and social distancing.
- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Athletics, Jamaica), made donations to student-athletes via her Pocket Rocket Foundation as Jamaica and the world continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
- Paula Pareto (Judo, Argentina) worked full time as a doctor in a Bueno Aires hospital while training. She also inspired many to stay active while at home by sharing daily exercises on Instagram.
- 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.
- Daniel Dias (Para-swimming, Brazil) recorded videos and participated via lives on Instagram to talk about inspiration and how to stay strong during these difficult times. He sent messages of affection, hope and support to everyone that needed it and stayed close to people on social media.
“The delay of The Games gave me an extra time for preparation, I feel on a better shape now. It is important to be flexible with changes, as we never know what’s going to happen. During this time, my inspiration came from showing that athletes are the new warriors of the society, and no matter what happens around us we keep our head up looking to our goal. There will always be rocks in the way, so make sure you take a positive move with them.” – Keneth Tencio
“The pandemic completely hit me. A swimmer needs a pool for his training and I literally felt like a fish out of the pond. But I focused on my physical preparation with adapted exercises at home until I could return to the pool. At the same time, I stayed closed to people on social media to send positive messages and support each other during these difficult times.” – Daniel Dias
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.