26 March, 2015

Building Athletes

Athletic partnerships and projects based on strong values, tend to be focused on building longer-term relationships rather than making quick impressions. They tend to be more about substance and character; about patience, perseverance, overcoming and finally rejoicing together in a mutual achievement.

For those who don't know Orbea, let me introduce it to you. Orbea is a relatively small company, where the owners are the people working there, where one person is one vote. There are no funding partners or investment groups, and besides, our by-laws do not allow this. Our goal is to generate quality employment, and project profitability as a means to support our project. We like to see ourselves as a small group of people who like to do their jobs well, and occasionally, we are able to do exceptional things. And we really enjoy when this happens!

For us, success is not just about winning the Olympic Games, stages of the Tour de France, Giro or Vuelta; XC World Championships…or even the Kona Ironman or Xterra triathlon. What makes us feel proud is to see that the seeds we have sown, and nurtured with our values, have flourished and borne fruit.

With our size, it is difficult to aim at sponsoring the greatest or most successful sport stars. When we have won, it was rarely because we signed the best athletes after they had already achieved their status. Our philosophy has always been based on growing with our athletes, nurturing long term relationships, going with them until they achieve their maximum potential.

Maybe the most significant project which best illustrates this philosophy in action is the Euskadi Foundation with the legendary Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team, marking a time in road cycling. Back when we decided to support that project in 1994, seeing Roberto Laiseka raise his arms in 2001 in Luz Ardiden, was unthinkable. Samuel Sánchez was a young man from Asturias that we supported when Tomás Amezaga – a mechanic of the Euskaltel Team – took him into his house when he was competing among the ranks of Olarra. Eleven years later, he won the Olympic Gold medal in Beijing.

Euskadi Foundation has been only the tip of the iceberg; we have also spend 17 years working with the MTB team, ten years of cooperation with Andrew Starycowicz, nine years with Luna Chix Pro-Team or the legendary Seat Orbea, Perico Delgado, Marino Lejarreta… these are all a clear reinforcement of our reserve philosophy.

In such long term relationships we have lived through moments of great highs and lows, but most of the times these relationships have crossed the barrier of merely sponsor and athlete, and given rise to strong personal relationships. Today, that we go to races and we feel that the affection we hold towards Perico, Julien, Aimar, Samu, Marino… are sincere expressions, as sincere as the smile we have when they get good results in their sports as well as personally.

In the end, I am sure we will continue our commitment to the reserve in the future, giving us great satisfaction, and not forgetting that beyond obtaining victories, it is a way to repay everything cycling and society have given us.

We look forward to having you join the ranks of athletes who have achieved their best with Orbea beside them.