SAN FRANCISCO — Visa Inc. has announced four new U.S. Olympic hopefuls who will go for gold as members of Team Visa Rio 2016. These athletes include Missy Franklin, a four-time Olympic champion in swimming; Ibtihaj Muhammad, a 2014 world champion in fencing; Sam Mikulak, a three-time national champion in gymnastics and a 2015 Pan-American games gold medalist; and Connor Jaeger, an American record holder in swimming for 1,500 meters.
“Missy Franklin needs no introduction to the Olympic world, having enjoyed her dominance in the pool during the London 2012 Olympic Games,” said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer for Visa Inc. “Missy, Ibtihaj, Sam and Connor represent the best in their sport, which inspires all of us to deliver our best for our customers around the world. They will be incredible ambassadors for the Visa brand and we are looking forward to supporting them as they go for the gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
Visa’s four new exceptional athletes will join more than 40 others from around the world to be a part of Team Visa. Olympic hopefuls representing Team Visa at Rio 2016 are selected based on their personal journeys to the Olympic Games, athletic achievements and community involvement. The Team Visa program began in 2004 and has been an important part of Visa’s efforts to better connect Olympians and those who follow the Olympic Games with the company.
“I am honored to partner with Visa, joining the many great athletes who are already members of Team Visa Rio 2016,” said Franklin, who currently holds the world record in the 200 meter backstroke. “As an athlete, it is important that I align with a brand that I not only use daily, but also one I trust and admire.”
“As I start this exciting journey to Rio, I am thrilled to have Visa as a supportive partner,” said Muhammad, who in addition to qualifying for her first Olympic Team in February owns and operates a small business which designs, manufactures and sells women’s clothing. “I am grateful to join such a fantastic group of athletes who represent the best in their sport and to partner with a brand which represents the best in payments.”
Visa’s commitment to the Olympic Movement began in 1986, and includes sponsorship of all Olympic Games from 1988-2020. During that time, Visa has supported more than 1,000 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls by providing them with financial and marketing exposure in the run up to and during the Olympic Games.
Other notable Team Visa Rio 2016 athletes, introduced during an event last Fall at Visa’s corporate headquarters, include three-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup hero Carli Lloyd, 100 meter hurdles gold medalist Sally Pearsonand Brazilian volleyball star Bruno Rezende.