HARTFORD, Conn.–The Hartford, founding partner of U.S. Paralympics for more than two decades and the Official Disability Insurance Sponsor of U.S. Paralympics, announced its ‘I Will’ campaign supporting Team USA at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The campaign kicks off today with the launch of The Hartford’s national digital and print advertisements featuring U.S. Paralympic athletes who personify the energy, confidence and optimism that drive achievement, and remind us that ability and the will to prevail lives within each of us.
“The ‘will to prevail’ is a powerful message – one that we all connect to,” said Kathy Bromage, chief marketing and communications officer for The Hartford. “It is what drives us to be ready to help our more than 20 million customers overcome challenges every day. We are honored to have five athletes join Team Hartford to help highlight the importance of pushing forward in the face of adversity and help to encourage everyone to find their own will to prevail.”
The new campaign demonstrates The Hartford’s continued belief in the transformative power of the human spirit to overcome unexpected adversity. Through the ad campaign, The Hartford will urge people to celebrate the idea that it’s possible to see challenges as opportunities to succeed. The Team Hartford U.S. Paralympic athletes will be prominently showcased through a number of inspiring messages and stories that show their personal journeys.
“The Hartford’s support for athletes like myself and the company’s longstanding support of U.S. Paralympics helps positively change perceptions about disabilities by showing what is possible when you focus on ability and overcome life’s challenges,” said Keith Gabel, Paralympic snowboarder and bronze medalist who is training for the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. “I am honored to join Team Hartford along with other world-class athletes and I am thankful for the opportunity to share my own will to prevail.”
The Team Hartford roster includes:
- Keith Gabel – In June 2005, Gabel was involved in a workplace industrial accident that crushed his left foot. A longtime recreational snowboarder, he discovered competitive Para snowboarding during the 2010-11 season and began training with the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah. He earned a spot on the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team heading to Sochi, where he won a bronze medal in the sport’s Paralympic debut. In 2015, he was an X Games Snowboarder X Adaptive gold medalist.
- Andrew Kurka – Kurka was injured at age 13 after an ATV accident severely damaged three vertebrae in the middle of his spinal cord. Two years after his accident, he first tried the mono-ski on the encouragement of his physical therapist. He went on to make the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team in 2010 and made his international debut. Kurka was unable to compete in the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 due to injuries and will make his Paralympic Games debut in PyeongChang 2018.
- Oksana Masters – Masters was born in Ukraine with birth defects as a direct result of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl and was adopted at the age of 7 1/2. Over the course of seven years, due to the defects to her legs, she had to have both amputated. At age 13, she began rowing, and in 2012 brought home a bronze medal from the Paralympic Games London 2012. Shortly after, Masters began skiing and trained for 14 months leading up to the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, where she won a silver and bronze medal. Masters secured four Nordic skiing world titles at the end of the 2016-2017 season.
- Mike Shea – Shea grew up passionate about snowboarding but in September of 2002, he was involved in a boating accident. While wakeboarding with friends, the ski rope wrapped around his ankle and resulted in the instant amputation of his left leg. After a call from a Paralympic coach, Shea trained to compete in Para snowboarding and has since become one of the top Para snowboarders in the world. In 2014, Shea competed in his first Paralympic Games for Team USA, bringing home a silver medal.
- Evan Strong – Strong grew up in Hawaii and found a love for the cement waves of the skate park at a young age. Just 10 days before his 18th birthday, Strong was riding a motorcycle when he was struck by a drunk driver in a head-on collision which led to the partial amputation of his left leg. He moved to Lake Tahoe in October 2007 and learned how to snowboard. Strong became the first male to win a gold medal in snowboarding at the Paralympic Games Sochi 2014 and has continued to succeed for Team USA.
The Hartford’s longstanding support of disabled athletes
The Hartford is a leading provider of group disability insurance and has a long-held belief that sports are an important part of physical rehabilitation following a disabling illness or injury. As a founding partner, The Hartford has supported U.S. Paralympic athletes for more than 20 years through its sponsorship of U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and its dedication to recruiting and training elite athletes with physical and visual disabilities.
For 24 years, The Hartford has been a title sponsor of The Hartford Ski Spectacular – held in Breckenridge, Colo. this year from Dec. 4-10, 2017 – which is one of the nation’s largest winter sports festivals for people with disabilities. Organized by Disabled Sports USA, the event has more than 800 registered participants annually.
Team Hartford’s Gabel, Shea and Kurka will attend The Hartford Ski Spectacular to share their passion and teach their sport to participants, including wounded service members and special guest Lilly Biagini, a 10-year-old who recently lost everything, including her prosthetic legs and wheelchair, in a wildfire that destroyed her home in Santa Rosa, Calif. In 2014, Biagini, who was born with a rare muscular condition, chose to amputate her legs above the knee.
Over the course of its partnership with U.S. Paralympics, The Hartford has held more than 2,500 similar events, connecting millions of Americans with U.S. Paralympic athletes and sports.
For more information on The Hartford and its support to U.S. Paralympic team, visit www.thehartford.com/willtoprevail and follow #WillToPrevail social media.
About The Hartford
The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at https://www.thehartford.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheHartford_PR.
The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Conn. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice.
Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-Q, and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.
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