Editor's Note: Read part two about the connection between U.S. Olympians and our clients.
What does it take to be a U.S. Olympian? It takes talent, skill, heart, focus, determination, and hope that one day the grueling practices and lifelong sacrifice will distinguish you as a member of Team USA. But, hope without plans may just be dreams. Dreamers need support.
Giving Dreamers Direction.
TD Ameritrade has a long-standing history of helping investors pursue dreams. That’s why we added a unique element to our Team USA sponsorship—in addition to sponsoring this generation of U.S. Olympians we’re also supporting the next generation of athletes through our Hopefuls program. Working with the United States Olympic Committee and National Governing Bodies, TD Ameritrade identified four promising teen athletes on pace for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. We paired the Hopefuls with U.S. Olympians in their sport for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Then, we set the stage for a surprising way to present some very good news in person.
TD Ameritrade Gives Hopefuls the Surprise of a Lifetime.
Told they were going to be involved in a project on USOC up-and-comers, the four U.S. Olympic Hopefuls—Tia Jones and Damion Thomas (hurdles), Jordan Windle (diving), and Sylvie Binder (fencing)—instead received life-changing news: “TD Ameritrade is sending you to Rio!” The U.S. Olympian mentors they were matched with—Chaunté Lowe, David Oliver, David Boudia, and Mariel Zagunis—were even on hand to help present the message in person.
Watch the Hopefuls’ emotional reactions as they learn they’re going to Rio and meet their mentor for the first time:
In Rio, the Hopefuls will cheer on Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games and participate in mock press tours as part of the Rio experience. Without the pressure of competing, they can witness the games firsthand and gain valuable advice from U.S. Olympians, so that they’ll be prepared for when it’s their time to represent Team USA.
Mentoring the Next Generation.
Recognizing that guidance is integral to achieving aspirations, each 2020 Team USA Hopeful also receives one-to-one mentoring with their athlete mentor to help them along the way. The current U.S. Olympians recently connected with the Hopefuls and shared insights that can help smooth their journey to Tokyo.
Chaunté and Tia: Crushing Goals.
To see Tia Jones attack the hurdles and sail smoothly over barriers is impressive. She’s relentlessly training for Tokyo. “My goal is honestly just to be the best that I can be,” shared Tia. “And always push myself and never settle.” But even powerhouses like Tia have questions about the best way to set herself up for success. In a quiet moment, mentor and third time U.S. Olympian high jumper Chaunté Lowe offered advice about how to handle intense competition. She stressed the importance of pushing through the tough days, benchmarking against top competitors, and balancing education with athletic goals.
Damion and David: Tireless Work Ethic.
Damion Thomas looks to David Oliver as one of his idols, and has admired his hurdling technique and character for years. So understandably, he was blown away when he met his mentor in person. When it comes to the adrenaline-charged 100-meter hurdle races, Damion shared that he blocks out everything and just thinks about his own race. David affirmed his approach and emphasized that ultimately, “the competition is always the 10 barriers in your lane and you just have to beat those 10 every time.”
Sylvie and Mariel: Putting in the Work.
At 17, Sylvie sometimes regrets missing school activities or time with friends, but the dream of competing in Tokyo keeps her motivated to focus on her fencing goals. “The moment that I put on my mask, everything else goes out of my mind and I focus completely on my bout, on my ability,” said Sylvie. U.S. Olympic gold medalist in fencing Mariel Zagunis believes Sylvie has the right mindset to succeed in her sport. “The goals that you’re working towards should always be in the forefront of your mind,” emphasized Mariel. “What you do now and what you're working towards now is going to pay off in the long run.”
Jordan and David: Path to Success.
With a smile as bright as his future in diving, Jordan Windle talks optimistically about his prospects for making a future U.S. diving team. “I’m really committed to the sport,” revealed Jordan. “I’ve set my mind on it and I’m going to stick with it until the end.” Yet, there are times Jordan just doesn’t feel it. David Boudia, U.S. Olympic gold medalist could relate. There are times the pool is the last place he wants to be, but a steadfast approach to training and competing is essential. As David told Jordan, “it's all worth it at the end when you can go to The Olympics.”
Follow their Journey.
TD Ameritrade is proud to help these dedicated young athletes plan for their futures through the Hopefuls program. As the games heat up in Rio, you can follow along with the Hopefuls and Team USA and with the #likeyou thread on the TD Ameritrade social channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.