Team Milk’s Maurio McCoy, Cat Osterman, Ariel Torres and Hannah Roberts spotlight new returning Olympic sports
Few advertising campaigns have been as ubiquitous – or as long lasting – as Got Milk ?. Over 25 years ago, what started as a series of commercials featuring this iconic milk mustache has become a staple in pop culture.
But no brand wants to rest on its laurels. In the 2021 got milk? campaign, with athletes and Olympic hopefuls at the center, milk mustaches have given way to crisp white outfits that allow athletes to showcase what makes their sport unique.
And for the newly announced Team Milk athletes, unique is an understatement; all four — Maurio McCoy (skateboard), Cat Osterman (softball), Ariel Torres (karate) and Hannah Roberts (BMX freestyle) — are trying to qualify or have qualified to participate in new or return sports to the Olympic program.
“This year we are bringing together four exemplary athletes to be part of the Milk team — Cat, Ariel, Hannah and Maurio — who are all getting ready to start new sporting events or return to the Olympics,” said Yin Woon Rani. , CEO, LaitPEP. “Our athletes drink milk to get the nutrients they need to perform at their best and we are delighted to support them as they embark on this exciting journey.”
Team Milk athletes cover a range of experiences. Osterman, 38, is a two-time Olympic medalist (gold in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008), but her sport, softball, is just returning to the Tokyo 2020 schedule after a 12-year hiatus.
Circumstances beyond Osterman’s control – several Olympic cycles without softball, then Covid-19 interrupting her training once softball confirmed for the Tokyo Games – could have forced her to retire, as so many other athletes had to. do it.
But she credits Team Milk’s support, as well as its internal willingness to force the younger generation not to give up softball, keeping its momentum going ahead of the rescheduled 2021 Games.
“I want young athletes to know the dedication I have as an athlete. I mean, I’m still playing at 38, which takes dedication! said Osterman. “I am physically and mentally dedicated and have a passion for what I do. I want other athletes to have a passion for what they do and the sport they play as well. ”
Osterman emphasizes the milk obtained long ago? campaigns for students and future athletes to find an athlete to relate to, which she says is crucial.
Once upon a time, perhaps these athletes tended to look more to NBA or NFL stars with multi-million dollar salaries over several years. Now, however, young softball players, skateboarders, karatekas, and freestyle BMX riders can find an athlete who does what they dream of doing at a high level in Gotta Milk? countryside.
“Team Milk gives us the opportunity to spread this passion and dedication and reach out to different sports and athletes of all ages,” said Osterman. “They push their athletes to promote healthy lifestyles and maintain healthy lifestyles and that’s something that has always been important to me and something that I want to show young girls in softball.”
Roberts, 19, has never competed in an Olympics. His sport, freestyle BMX, is making its debut in Tokyo this summer, even as BMX racing has been part of the Olympic program since the 2008 Games in Beijing. The top ranked female park rider in the United States also wants to encourage young girls to practice BMX freestyle.
“Having a sponsor like Milk is everything,” said Roberts. “They are super helpful and they love their athletes and it’s amazing to see. It also gives young women something to look forward to: “Maybe I could ride for Team Milk one day.” This is something that we haven’t seen a lot in BMX.
Indeed, unlike another action sport that made its debut at the Tokyo Games, skateboarding, which has made notable strides over the past 10 years towards equal scholarships for all genders and major sponsors signing skaters, women’s BMX always tries to achieve that level of fairness. Not all competitions guarantee the same cash prize, and some major competitions, like the X Games, still do not offer BMX disciplines for women.
But a stage as large as the Olympics can squeeze years of progress in a given sport into a tiny timeline.
When skateboarding was approved as an Olympic sport in 2016, countries embarked on rapid infrastructure building, training young Olympic hopefuls – some only 10 or 11 – in their bid to qualify for the games as as major sponsors have started recruiting the next generation of professional skaters.
McCoy, 25, turned pro on the eve of the pandemic – and after that his life was “slowing down and speeding up at the same time,” he said.
“The ultimate goal was to get pro and once I got there I wanted a new list of goals,” McCoy said. “Basically it came down to wanting to have as long a career as possible in the sport. I want to leave my mark on skateboarding in a positive way – to be an inspiration to young athletes and to help lead the way. This is another reason why I am so grateful to be a part of Team Milk; they help me do it!
Torres, 24, has been practicing kata since the age of six, but he never imagined he would one day introduce it to the world through the Olympics.
The Hialeah, Florida native was 18 when he learned karate would be added to the Tokyo 2020 Games schedule, and he immediately made it a priority.
“The Olympics are without a doubt the biggest milestone in my career and a huge step forward for my sport,” said Torres. “I sacrificed everything to be where I am today: time with friends and family and experiences.”
When explaining the physicality of the kata, Torres says, “Think of it this way: if you can pierce the wood, you can pierce through the air and you should have the same strength and training as if you were piercing. wood. To do all of this you need to have a strong body and therefore strong bones. Joining Team Milk was a matter of course for him at the time, as it has been part of his recovery since he started practicing karate as a child.
The ecosystems that support these four sports debuting or returning to the Tokyo program are not as strong as some Olympic sports, and all four athletes highlighted how much sponsorship is a game-changer for training.
When the pandemic first shut down competitive sport completely, and then caused lasting repercussions on qualifying events, McCoy, Osterman, Torres and Roberts were able to continue to focus on their training without worrying about looking for more. other jobs to support themselves.
And while each of these athletes have the heart of a competitor and want to leave Tokyo with a medal, they also understand the more important role they play as ambassadors of their sport on the world stage and in inspiring the next. generation.
“The interruption was detrimental to our sport. I’m so grateful that he’s back this year and that there are countries around the world that want this sport to be played, ”said Osterman. “I really want young athletes to see this and know it – watch today, softball is back at the Olympics!
With Los Angeles hosting the Olympics in 2028, Osterman said, she hopes softball will be approved for the program there as well.
“Overall, being a part of Team Milk is huge for me and I’m thrilled to be part of the team the same year skateboarding is introduced to the Olympics,” said McCoy. Skateboarding has also been confirmed for Paris 2024.
“I really hope to see more exposure in my sport now that it’s part of the Olympics,” added McCoy. “I hope this excites the younger generations and inspires them to try it.”