The GIST sits down with 17-time Paralympic medalist Oksana Masters
The GIST: The Hartford is hosting its 36th annual Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge, Colorado this week, where over 800 participants partake in one of the largest winter para sports festivals. The GIST recently chatted with 17-time Paralympic medalist Oksana Masters about how her Spectacular start led to glory, gold, and her “proudest moments with The Hartford.”
The company: The Hartford is a Fortune 500 investment and insurance company based in Connecticut. Notably, the brand is a leading provider of disability insurance, making its decades-long support of the Paralympic movement an ideal alignment of corporate values and real-world impact.
The investment: A huge barrier for Paralympic athletes is getting the expensive and custom-made equipment they need to compete. In addition to sponsoring events, The Hartford has given millions in grants to support around 45K individuals, including donations of over 5.5K pieces of adaptive sports equipment in the last five years.
Athlete impact: Masters said The Hartford’s support allowed her to “elevate [her] game” after she was encouraged to try winter sports for the first time at The Hartford’s 2013 Ski Spectacular. She then went on to earn 14 medals in cross-country skiing and biathlon and is now the most decorated U.S. Winter Paralympian of all time. Ice in her veins.
- The Hartford supports her summer sports endeavors, too. When Masters first took up Para-cycling, she couldn’t afford the $25K handcycle she needed to compete and ultimately placed off the podium using suboptimal gear. After the company gifted her a custom ride, she won two Para-cycling golds at Tokyo 2020.
The future: With expanded coverage and sponsors going all in, it will be exciting to see Paralympians shine on the biggest stage next summer. Masters recognized that The Hartford’s support will catapult a new generation of athletes into the spotlight. “This is what makes this gifting moment so special — because [for] some of these individuals, it’s going to be their stepping stone into this world.” A ringing endorsement.