Eli Lilly's Olympic athletes share health challenge stories in the countdown to Games

Olympic Rings in Tokyo
The members of Lilly's newly announced seven-member Olympic team, which is readying itself to compete in the Tokyo Games, all have connections to health challenges. (Hong via Newscred)

Eli Lilly is partnering with seven Olympic athletes in its first-ever sponsorship of the Games—but they’re not just any athletes.

The seven Team Lilly athletes are closely connected to health challenges. Among the newly announced team members are a breast cancer survivor, two migraine sufferers and two children of Type 2 diabetes patients.

The Team Lilly athletes are sharing their stories in the media and online at Eli Lilly’s Olympic homepage. They're “stories of triumph, loss, worry and hope. Each story reminds us why it’s important to put health above all,” the website says.

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The members Lilly’s team are U.S. Olympians and Paralympians: swimmers Kathleen Baker and Ryan Murphy, gymnast Laurie Hernandez, high jumper Chaunté Lowe, volleyball player April Ross, handcycler Oz Sanchez, and paratriathlete Allysa Seely.

Lilly and the athletes hope their stories will help inspire other Americans who may be facing similar challenges. Lilly’s portfolio of medicines includes treatments for diabetes, cancer, migraine, and psoriasis.  

The four-time Olympic high jumper Lowe will compete for the first time in this year’s Olympics as a breast cancer survivor. The mother of three is also a “champion of screenings, early detection and patient advocacy,” according to her bio.

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“As an athlete, I’ve always prioritized all aspects of my health,” she said in Lilly’s announcement. “This year, good health became an increased priority for everyone. It’s an honor to be joining Team Lilly and working with a company that not only celebrates what is possible with good health but also makes important medicines to treat serious conditions.”

Lilly first signed on as an Olympic sponsor in February 2020 in a one-year deal. That was pushed back when the Tokyo Games were rescheduled for this summer, now set to begin in less than 100 days and run from July 23 to August 8.