BMW’s commitment to performance and striving to be the best includes partnering to support USA Swimming, USA Track & Field, US Speedskating and USA Bobsled and Skeleton. BMW has also assembled the BMW Performance Team to help Team USA athletes and help them realize their Olympic and Paralympic Dreams.
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BMW is using their vehicle technology to create tools that will help improve athlete performance. By taking innovations like camera based pedestrian detection, BMW has developed a velocity measurement system for USA Track & Field. It provides real–time analysis of three key parameters—horizontal approach velocity, vertical take–off velocity and take–off angle—in the long jump.And that’s not the only project BMW has been engineering.
A motion tracking system is also being created for USA Swimming. It automatically captures a swimmers’ stroke and then provides a performance data analysis for coaches. This new technology will help evaluate how major and minor adjustments in form and technique affect overall performance.
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The BMW Performance Team was formed to help Team USA athletes achieve their Olympic and Paralympic Dreams. Each team member is passionate, talented and constantly striving to improve in his or her sport. And with BMW’s support, members of the BMW Performance Team will be able to focus entirely on qualifying and training for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Olympic Swimming gold medalist Ricky Berens is a living testament to BMW’s innovation and technology. In fact, Ricky still credits BMW for saving his life in a car accident that occurred when he was younger. Since then, he has become an accomplished Olympian and the only male swimmer to win a gold medal at every key international event between 2007 and 2011. Ricky made his Olympic debut at the 2008 Olympic Games, where he won gold in the 4x200 meter relay with a world-record-breaking time of 6:58:55. He also won gold in the 2009 World Championships, 2010 Pan Pacific Championships, 2011 FINA World Championships and 2011 Duel in the Pool. After a solid showing in the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ricky went home with a silver medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay and a gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Collegiate swimmer Matt Chrabot started cycling his sophomore year at George Mason University. Always a strong swimmer and runner, Matt entered his first triathlon in 2003. He turned pro in 2006, won the USAT Elite National Championship in 2009, became the youngest U.S. male to win a World Cup and was named the 2010 Olympic/ITU Athlete of the Year by USAT. Matt was an alternate for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, and cheered for his teammates as they competed for the chance to make the Olympic podium.
Bryan Clay is one of the few decathletes to hold more than one Olympic medal. He earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, finished first in the 2005 World Championships and was the Olympic gold medalist from the 2008 Games. However, after an unfortunate turn of events at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Bryan fell short of qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Even so, he still made the trip to London to cheer on Team USA.
Eleven-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin made a splash in the 2004 and 2008 Games by earning more medals—five in Athens and six in Beijing—than any other female athlete. She’s also the first woman to win consecutive individual gold medals in the 100-meter backstroke and has remarkably medaled in every Olympic event she’s ever entered. Natalie also won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2011 World Championships. At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Natalie helped the team qualify for the finals of the 4x100m freestyle relay. In a last-minute decision she didn’t swim in the finals but still received a bronze medal. And with that final medal, she tied the record with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for being the most-decorated female athlete.
Before competing in the 1988 Olympic Games, Janet Evans’ parents promised her that if she won the gold medal they would buy her any car she wanted. A red BMW 325i Convertible was waiting for her when she returned home. Since then, Janet has been recognized as one of the best female distance swimmers, and even made appearances in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, winning a total of five Olympic medals, four of them gold. After a 15-year hiatus, Janet made a run for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, competing in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the age of 40. Although she just missed qualifying, Janet still serves as an inspiration to many and remains a legendary athlete of her generation.
After losing her left leg in a train accident, April Holmes learned about the Paralympic Games from her Emergency Orthopedic Surgeon. She immediately resolved to do whatever it took to become a part of the Games. Since 2002, April has broken world records, won the gold medal in the 100 meters at the 2008 Paralympic Games and earned the title "World’s Fastest Amputee." Most recently at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, she won a bronze medal in the Women’s 100m with a seasonal best time of 13.33 seconds. And as a BMW owner, April has always had a special relationship with the Ultimate Driving Machine®— recognizing her X5 for getting her to the training sessions that would help make her Paralympic dreams come true.
Texas native Jonathan Horton discovered gymnastics at the age of five and he’s never looked back. He boasts six medals from U.S. Championships and was the 2009 and 2010 National Champion. At the 2010 World Championship, Jonathan won an individual bronze medal in the all-around. And after winning the silver on the high bar in the 2008 Olympic Games, Jonathan rewarded himself by purchasing his first BMW. Most recently, he placed fifth in the Men’s Team Final and sixth in the Men’s Horizontal Bar at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Clay Johnson started sailing when he was only five years old. In 2000, he was the youngest person to compete in the Olympic Trials and he placed third in the 2008 Olympic Trials. After graduating from Harvard, he worked as a Commodities Trader for a year before deciding to focus on sailing full time. Clay came in a close second during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and didn’t compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. He continues to sail competitively.
Sanya Richards-Ross is an unstoppable force in Track and Field. One of the fastest female runners in the world, she has earned five National U.S. Titles (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009), won five Olympic medals, and broke the record for the most 400 meter races run in sub-50 seconds (39). Additionally, Sanya is a five-time World Champion in the 400 meter (1) and 4x400 meter relay (4). Sanya carried her American Record 400 meter time of 48.70 seconds to the London 2012 Olympic Games. After a victorious showing, she went home with gold medals in the 400m and 4x400m relay.
Long and stressful workweeks on Wall Street were the norm for cyclist Evelyn Stevens. Fitting in even an occasional jog? Next to impossible. It all changed in 2007 when she entered a Cyclo-cross race in Northern California. When she returned home, she bought a road bike and quickly became the talk of the NYC Cycling Community. In 2010, she went pro and won both the 2010 and 2011 U.S. National Time Trial Championships. And only two years after going pro, Evelyn placed 24th in the Women’s Road Race at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In January 2008, Mallory Weggemann went in for a routine medical procedure for back pain. Due to complications, the college freshman came out paralyzed from the waist down. A swimmer since the age of seven, Mallory was determined to keep competing. Since then she has broken 34 American and 16 world records and won the 2011 ESPY award for Best Female athlete with a disability. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Mallory was a force to be reckoned with, and delivered a gold medal in the Women’s 50m Freestyle as well as a bronze medal in the Women’s 4x100 Medley Relay.
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