26 May 2021
As the countdown to this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 nears its conclusion, a new IOC Olympic Channel original series – co-created with Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota – is sharing the inspiring personal stories of five athletes who are set to feature in some of the new sports that are debuting at the Games. The five-episode Unleash the New web series are now available on olympics.com as well as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram TV and Snapchat.
This new original series features professional sport climber Shauna Coxsey (GBR), Pan-American surfing gold medallist Lucca Mesinas (PER), ground-breaking skateboarder Jordyn Barratt (USA), Asian karate champion Saadi Abbas (PAK) and Para taekwondo star Juan-Diego Garcia (MEX), with each athlete revealing fascinating insights into their unique journey to Tokyo 2020.
The series highlights the joy, freedom and friendships that the athletes have discovered through their sports, and how their lives were changed when the possibility of competing at the Olympic or Paralympic Games became a reality, with karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing all being added to the Games programme in 2016, alongside the returning sports of baseball/softball, while para taekwondo was confirmed for the Tokyo schedule in 2015.
By showcasing the newest sports on the Olympic and Paralympic programmes, and the happiness these sports bring to the athletes, Unleash the New also aims to inspire audiences around the world to find their own joy in new challenges.
The opening episode focuses on Coxsey, who fell in love with climbing at the age of three and has since gone on to become an 11-time World Cup winner in the sport.
“The power of sport lies in its ability to bring people with diverse backgrounds together, and Toyota is proud to support the Olympic Channel as it shines a spotlight on five very talented athletes in Unleash the New,” said Lisa Materazzo, Group Vice President, Toyota Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “Our past collaborations with the Olympic Channel have been immensely successful, and we’re happy to partner again to share inspirational stories from our Global Team Toyota Athletes. Every athlete has followed a different path to compete at the Games, and we hope viewers across the world will be encouraged by the series to follow in their footsteps and start their own impossible.”
“We are delighted to once again be working with Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota on a compelling original series, and grateful for their ongoing efforts to promote the Olympic values,” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the Olympic Channel. “Following the success of What Moves Me, our collaboration on Unleash the New promises to share the stories of these five incredible athletes – and their exciting sports – with a global audience, who can then follow these athletes on their journeys to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”
Toyota is an Olympic Channel Founding Partner, and previously worked with the Olympic Channel team to co-develop the original series Is It Possible? and the Webby award-winning series What Moves Me. Alongside Unleash the New, these branded content series complement Toyota’s Worldwide Olympic Partnership with the IOC and its long-term commitment to support the creation of a more inclusive and sustainable society in which everyone can challenge their impossible through stories of determination as well as through Toyota technologies.
Episode 1 – How sport climbing star Shauna Coxsey found her sport
Shauna Coxsey is a sport climbing sensation from the UK. With her motto “find something that makes you happy”, she made it to the top and is now ready to step up to represent the sport at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Episode 2 – How Peruvian star Lucca Mesinas fell in love with surfing
Following in his parents’ footsteps, Lucca fell in love with surfing at a young age thanks to long sessions in the water with family and friends. With his competitive streak, Lucca has now qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Games, where surfing will make its Olympic debut.
Episode 3 – How Jordyn Barratt found herself through skateboarding
Growing up in Hawaii, it’s not surprising that Jordyn was a surfer long before she stepped onto a skateboard. But her life changed when she entered a skatepark for the first time. She finally felt at home and was able to express herself through her movements on the board. Now that skateboarding is an Olympic sport, she’s ready to represent her community on the biggest stage of all.
Episode 4 – How Bruce Lee first inspired karate champion Saadi Abbas
Saadi Abbas, a karateka from Pakistan, nearly gave up on his Olympic dream. After learning that the sport would join the Games in Tokyo, he jumped back into training despite injuries and a lack of funding. Now, he hopes to follow the example of Seoul 1988 bronze medallist Hussain Shah, who is from the same neighbourhood of Karachi, and qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Episode 5 – How fun fuels Para Taekwondo world champion Juan-Diego Garcia
When Juan-Diego Garcia entered a dojang for the first time at the age of five, he knew he had found his place. As success came against able-bodied competitors, other kids used to ask, “But he doesn’t have an arm, how did he win?” He always proved to himself and others that he can do anything. Now, Mexico’s first-ever world champion in Para Taekwondo is training harder than ever to represent his country and hometown at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, where the sport will make its debut.