CHICAGO – BP announced today that it is donating $160,000 and the necessary equipment for creation of the nation’s first official US Paralympic training site for wheelchair racing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.
“As a proud partner of the United States Olympic Committee, BP is honored to support the establishment of what we believe will be the top Paralympic wheelchair racing training facility in the world,” said Corey Correnti, BP’s Chicago-based vice president of marketing, sales and supply. “We’re very excited to lend our support to the world-class wheelchair racing program at the University of Illinois that has produced Paralympic champions like Tatyana McFadden.”
Three-time gold medalist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and winner of several major marathons - including a sweep of Boston, London, New York and Chicago in 2013 - McFadden is a BP-sponsored Team USA athlete. She will also donate $20,000 to her alma mater’s training center courtesy of BP.
“The success I’ve had has come as a result of many different points of support, and the University of Illinois wheelchair track program has been one of the most important,” McFadden said. “All of the resources provided to me and Coach Adam Bleakney’s guidance have been instrumental in helping me achieve my potential. There really is no better place to train in the world.”
In addition to providing a world-class training venue for McFadden and her more than 20 University of Illinois teammates, the new 2,100 square foot facility will also provide training and coaching for four USOC Paralympic athletes not attending the university.
“We are excited about the opportunity to deepen our relationship with the United States Olympic Committee by becoming one of its elite Paralympic training facilities,” said Dean Tanya Gallagher of the College of Applied Health Sciences at University of Illinois. “Since athletes from our program at Illinois participated in the first Paralympic Games, we have had a sustained commitment to the world-wide recognition and celebration of athletic ability that these Games represent. We are honored to have been selected as a training site and for the support we have received from BP.”
Last November, BP contributed $1 million to the USOC’s new Ted Stevens Sports Services Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and to existing US Paralympic programs. Today’s announcement marks the first time any corporate sponsor has partnered with both the USOC and a major university in advancing Paralympic sport.
“The University of Illinois already has a rich history of producing some of the world’s most competitive wheelchair racers, and we are pleased not only to continue, but also to enhance that tradition through this official partnership,” said Rick Adams, chief of Paralympic Sport and National Governing Body Organizational Development. “We are excited that the university is providing a home for future members of Team USA as these great athletes train to make their Paralympic dreams a reality. Through BP’s generous support, Paralympic athletes will continue to receive unparalleled access to and support from this elite training site.”
Over the past five years, BP has invested nearly $50 billion in the U.S. – more than any other energy company. BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and provides enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing approximately 20,000 people in all 50 states, BP supports more than 260,000 jobs total through all of its business activities. For more information, go to www.bp.com/us.
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