US Panasonic team members including Phelps featured in new YouTube series
Panasonic, a long-time sponsor of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has launched a series of videos with athlete ambassadors ahead of this year’s delayed Games in Tokyo.
Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympian in history, with 23 gold medals – is among the Panasonic team members to feature.
Five-time Olympic champion American swimmer Katie Ledecky due to compete in the Japanese capital this month and karateka Sakura Kokumai also took part.
The videos, published on the Panasonic North America Youtube channel, juxtapose the comments of past and present Olympians with the comments of child athletes they have inspired.
“When I hear the word ‘champion’ I think back to the goals I set for myself as a kid,” says Phelps, who has won 28 Olympic medals in total, at the start of his video.
“It’s really powerful when you see a kid focusing on something – there is nothing better.”
Kokumai discusses preparing for karate’s Olympic debut and how patience has been key to perfecting kata routines, while Ledecky is proud to ‘make a difference’ by capturing the attention of a future generation of swimmers.
Pan Am Games champion Kokumai led 30-minute workouts on Instagram last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic confined much of the world‘s population to their homes, with the series receiving support from Panasonic.
“When I teach kids, they’re all open-minded, they all want to learn, they all want to have fun, so it helps me understand why I also do karate.
“Karate teaches discipline, patience, respect, and that goes outside of the dojo.
“If you are really ready to work hard and love something, you can literally pursue any dream you want.”
Quadruple Paralympic long jump silver medalist Lex Gillette is the fourth member of Team Panasonic from the continent, with a video describing the 36-year-old soon to be released.
Panasonic’s first Olympic participation was at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, where it provided an audio system and a video screen for the main stadium.
She joined the flagship global sponsorship program The Olympic Partner (TOP) early in 1987, and the electronics company has been a TOP sponsor ever since.
Panasonic’s head office is in Osaka, Japan, and it is also a Gold Partner for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.