Most American’s missed seeing amputee Evan Strong win gold at the Paralympics in Sochi as Russian aggression toward Crimea and the Ukraine overshadowed the games. However, Strong gains another type of notoriety this Spring when he becomes the first para-athlete to grace the front of a Wheaties box.
Strong lost his left leg in an automobile accident, but through determination and perseverance he found himself at the Paralympics in Sochi March 7-16 where he won the gold medal in an event called snowboard cross. His inspiring story caught the attention of brand marketers at Wheaties, long known as “the breakfast of champions,” and Strong was recruited to appear as the first-ever para-athlete on the front of the cereal box. Fellow Olympians Mikaela Shiffrin and Sage Kotsenburg will also appear on limited-edition Wheaties box scheduled to hit store shelves this spring.
"We are extremely proud to have Evan as a member of Team Wheaties," said Jeff Tang, a marketer for the Wheaties brand at General Mills. "His remarkable attitude toward overcoming adversity is truly inspiring. We are honored to celebrate his athletic accomplishments, as well as the strength, courage and generosity that define him as a role model to other athletes."
Team Wheaties is a select group of elite athletes who represent the best in their respective sports and include notables such as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, motocross champion Ryan Dungey, speedskaters J.R. Celski and Heather Richardson, lacrosse player Rob Pannel, decathlete R.J. McGinnis and climber Tommy Caldwell.
Strong, a native of Hawaii, who currently resides in Nevada City, Calif., excelled at extreme sports at a young age, even securing his first skateboarding sponsorship at 13. However, his life was forever changed at 17, when he lost his left leg as a result of a car accident. Inspired by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and with the support of his family, Strong began training again and soon added snowboarding to his list of athletic achievements — reaching the pinnacle with a historic gold-medal performance in Sochi.
"Joining some of the most elite athletes in the world to be on the Wheaties box is a dream come true," said Strong. "Despite my injury, I never stopped challenging myself to grow and reach new milestones. I hope my story serves as inspiration for others that anything can be accomplished with hard work and dedication."