CHASE YOUR DREAM, NO MATTER WHAT
The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo may have had to be postponed due to Covid-19, but this in no way diminishes Bridgestone’s significant role as a Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic partner. For Bridgestone South Africa, this historic sponsorship with the world’s largest and greatest sporting event, provided the ideal platform to team up with some of the country’s most iconic Olympians, by way of their ‘Chase your Dream, No Matter What’ campaign.
Driven by three of the most inspirational Olympians to emerge from South Africa, Caster Semenya, Josia Thugwane and Lawrence Brittain, the motivational campaign aims to encourage people of all ages, abilities and passions to find the strength to chase their dream and overcome the obstacles they face on life’s journey. The Chase Your Dream, No Matter What campaign coincides with Bridgestone’s goal of keeping you safe and on track on life’s journey – just as Bridgestone’s tyres do on the road, they claim – whatever the conditions.
Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre and rubber company, proudly became a Worldwide Olympic Partner in 2014 and a Worldwide Paralympic Partner in 2018. The company is an official Partner to the Olympic Movement and Paralympic Movement through to 2024, a period that includes the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 – now only taking place in Bridgestone’s hometown in 2021 – Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024.
Bridgestone has stated that the company is dedicated to delivering products, services and solutions that improve the way people move, live, work and play, and its commitment to the Olympic Movement and Paralympic Movement continues a history of sport and innovation dating back more than 100 years. Their aptly named “Chase your Dream, No Matter What” campaign, they say, serves to inspire both Olympians and Para-Olympians to follow their dreams, goals and aspirations against all odds.
At a prestigious event held in Johannesburg on 4th March – at which each of the selected Olympians shared their unique and personal stories of how they overcame adversity – Bridgestone announced its new campaign to media and the business community alike,
Two-time Olympic gold medalist middle-distance runner Caster Semenya shared the stage with, Olympic silver medalist Lawrence Brittain and marathon legend and the first black South African to win gold at the Olympic Games, Josia Thugwane.
Caster Semenya dreamed of being one of the greatest runners. With the resilience instilled in her by her family and community, she powered her way through criticism, turning the negativity she experienced into positivity, and has gone on to win Olympic Gold medals and more: “I want to keep making history, to be the strongest and the greatest.
But I also want to show the next generation that anything is achievable. If you believe in yourself and work hard, you can conquer the world,” Semenya says. Since she first watched the Olympic Games on television in 2008, 29-year-old Semenya has won numerous gold medals at the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships. “Partnering with Bridgestone offers us Olympians an opportunity to tell our story on a much wider stage and to inspire people to persevere against all odds,” Semenya adds.
Josia Thugwane came out of a life of poverty to become the first black South African to win an individual gold medal for South Africa, motivated by the dream of supporting his family. Hailing from the town of Bethal, Mpumalanga, and without a matric certificate, Thugwane’s chances of success were slim. It was by pure chance that he joined a local running club and was offered a job when he was spotted for his athletic talent.
Josia Thugwane not only became the first black South African to win an Olympic medal in 1996, two years after the first democratic elections, he also conquered some of the most challenging marathons in the world with impressive times. “Life is very tough when you grow up like I did, but your background doesn’t have to hold you back. It’s possible to overcome it.”
South African rower, Lawrence Brittain, defied incredible odds to take silver at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 after beating cancer just two years before the event. Raised in a family of rowing fanatics, he naturally took to the water himself and soon revealed an amazing gift for rowing himself. In 2014, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymph-node cancer and immediately began chemotherapy.
Afterwards, he fought back mentally and physically, harder than ever before, and realized his lifelong dream to stand on the Olympic Games podium. “I’ve always loved winning, even from way back when I was a little child. My journey revealed the true strength of the human spirit to overcome obstacles for a dream,” he says.
Bridgestone South Africa CEO, Jacques Fourie, commented: “Our ‘Chase Your Dream, No Matter What’ campaign aims to inspire people everywhere, whatever their background to find the strength to chase their dreams and overcome any obstacles they face on life’s journey. Whatever challenges you face, we believe our role is to keep everyone safe and on track until you safely reach your destination. Our ambassadors are sharing their stories to help everyday people chase their dreams, no matter what.”
A series of events will make up the 2021 Chase Your Dream, No Matter What calendar and will be announced in due course.