Susana Rodríguez, triathlete and doctor specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Susana Rodríguez, five-time world champion, four-time European champion and Paralympic champion in Tokyo, is the icon of the new marketing paradigm. He has a visual acuity of 5% in one eye and 7% in the other as a result of albinism. Resident in Santiago de Compostela, the triathlete is a doctor specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Why has she managed to gain the trust of big brands? And, how has she become an influential athlete in society?

After being on the cover of Time magazine in July 2021 for her commitment as a citizen, His life has taken a 180 degree turn. During the first phase of the global coronavirus pandemicin March 2020, still unknown about the subsequent postponement of the Games, did not hesitate to put herself on the front line to help with her medical condition at the Clinical Hospital of Santiago.

Susana Rodriguez It has the support of six sponsors, including Adidas, Iberdrola, NTT Data, La Roche Posay and Uber, in addition to giving talks to companies like Google and participating in campaigns as an ambassador for different brands.among which are Hilton Hotels, Aguas Cabreiroa or the multinational Barbie, which has designed a doll in its image and likeness.

“For me it is a change that I have experienced completely naturally because at the end of the day I still live in the same place, surrounded by the same people and I have not lost contact with my medical profession which in the end makes you see the reality of the day by day of the population that is outside the bubble of high-level sports. It is clear that being a “public” character is also a responsibility but in my case I maintain my usual essence,” Susana comments to EFE.

Susana Rodríguez leads a group of athletes who fight for inclusion. Adiaratou Iglesias and Eva Moral are no longer unknown either. Their image crosses the border of sport and for some time now they have also begun to be a draw for brands, which in their case look for inspiring stories as new references in society.

The world changes every day and with it, in this society of immediacy, Social networks, communication and image play a very important role. The references of yesteryear no longer exist and the new generations look for different references very far from those that were for their parents.

PARADIGM SHIFT

Apart from the support of some companies, Paralympic athletes are also receiving prestigious awards that reinforce their image and, above all, do justice to their achievementssuch as the 2021 Princess of Asturias Sports Award for Teresa Perales or the National Sports Awards awarded in 2023 and 2024 to Susana Rodríguez and Adiaratou Iglesias.

The management of the marketing and communication strategy of some Paralympic athletes has grown in such a notable way that cases such as that of Susana Rodríguez, Adiaratou Iglesias and Eva Moral now have a professional representative who is in charge of all the procedures. And in that of Eva Moral and Adiaratou Iglesias, in addition to a representative, they have a ‘community manager’ that manages the entire communication and content strategy on their social networks.

“We are in charge of negotiating and executing the different business opportunities that are presented to us (sponsorships, talks, events, etc.), in addition to designing the entire marketing and content strategy,” comments Ignacio García, from the Darhima Sports Marketing agency, representative of the three Paralympic athletes.

Eva Moral’s life changed in September 2013, when she lost control of her bicycle in a race through the Madrid mountains. due to the rain and fell down a seven-meter ravine, which caused a spinal injury that has kept her in a wheelchair ever since.

His willpower based on a lot of work, Many hours of rehabilitation and a lot of drive led her to fulfill her dream of being in the Tokyo Paralympic Games., in which he won a bronze in his category. A year later, in 2022, he achieved his “best medal”: Carmen, his daughter.

Her story is an example of improvement that has made her a reference in women’s sports. and a very followed character on social networks, as proven by the almost 26,000 followers she has on Instagram, who also find out that Toyota, Iberdrola and Sanitas are the main entities that help her on her path to success.

THE QUEEN OF PARALYMPIC SPEED

Another example is Adiaratou Iglesias, the albino speed queen of Spanish Paralympic athletics, who amazed the world with her daring at the Tokyo Games and his confidence on the track to win two medals, a gold and a silver.

Adiaratou was born with albinism, a disorder caused by mutations in different genes that produces a reduction or total absence of melanin pigment in the eyes, skin and hair. and that, sometimes, it also affects vision, as in your case, with less than 20% visual capacity.

She arrived in Spain when she was eleven years old, she was in an orphanage and at fifteen she was adopted by María Lina Iglesias, a teaching teacher in Lugo. Meeting her changed her life. Later she found refuge in athletics and her figure as an athlete has grown.

“The evolution of marketing in the last five or ten years is enormous. In marketing, they began to be interested in people with disabilities and brands have begun to see that we can reach many more people through the stories we can tell. I also think that our mentality has evolved a lot to take care of our image and that there are people who represent us to reach brands that interest us. This is the beginning of everything. Every year we reach more people and we begin to be important people,” Adiaratou, who has sponsors such as Puma International, Iberdrola and has participated in the latest Sanitas campaign for the Paris 2024 Games, told EFE.

The numbers reflect that growing interest from brands in these Paralympic athletes, whose level of turnover has increased significantly in recent years without depending strictly on sporting results or proximity to the Games.

 
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