Sports

BTC signs partnership with Gardiner

Bahamian World and Olympic champion comes on board as the company’s latest ambassador

For 100 years, BTC has been connecting the islands of The Bahamas, and this millennium has been one of the biggest and more faithful supporter of sports in the country.

This period is no different as it welcomes on board its newest brand ambassador – “Speedy” Steven Gardiner, the World and Olympic Champion in the men’s 400 meters (m) from The Bahamas.

A day after Shaunae Miller-Uibo was signed by the other communications giant in the country, fellow gold medalist from the Tokyo Olympics Gardiner was recognized as a local and global 

ambassador. He signed a $100,000 contract at the BTC flagship store at the Mall at Marathon yesterday morning, becoming the company’s latest athletic promoter of its “super-fast” broadband services and the ambassador of BTC’s “Elevate What’s Next” campaign.

Over the years, BTC has pumped millions of dollars into the Bahamian economy, supporting athletes such as Miller-Uibo; Tonique Williams; Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace; the ‘Golden Knights’ of Chris “The Fireman” Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Ramon Miller and Michael Mathieu; and now Gardiner.

Company Chief Executive Officer (CEO) André Foster said they are ecstatic to have Gardiner on board, and the partnership will serve to promote the company’s services and elevate the network locally, regionally and around the world.

“This is absolutely a very proud moment for us at BTC. October 5 marks exactly two months since Stevie crossed the finish line in first place, making history as the first Bahamian man to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics. We are proud that we have entered into this $100,000 endorsement with ‘Speedy’ Steven Gardiner as a brand ambassador for our BTC super-fast fiber internet network and to have him as a part of the BTC family. This is a culmination of discussions that happened the moment that Stevie crossed that finish line. We knew that as soon as he crossed that finish line, that he would be a great ambassador for our product,” said Foster.

Gardiner ran his second-fastest time in history in winning the gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, circling the track in 43.85 seconds. It was second only to the national record time of 43.48 seconds he ran for the world title in Doha, Qatar, in 2019.

“The whole world was watching as The Bahamas made history. In 43.85 seconds, Stevie made the country proud,” said Foster. “Stevie brought home the gold for The Bahamas, and the 242 was proud of another great Bahamian doing wonderful things. His victory has shown what we could do as a country on the world stage. And certainly here at BTC, we see this partnership as being elite and beneficial to both parties as we continue to elevate our network and grow the strength of our broadband services as well as other services.”

Humbled, Gardiner said he is elated to be connected to BTC and is looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

“It’s amazing for me. BTC has always been there for us through the funding of sports. I’m just happy to be a part of the team and want to keep the spirit going,” he said. “BTC cares about sports. They support all the sports. They were there for my first CARIFTA team in 2014, and my first Olympic team in 2016. We share a common desire to elevate, by investing in our goals which requires time, effort and full dedication. I encourage all Bahamians to make the switch to BTC’s super-fast internet, which, like me, is blazing trails. What they’re doing in sports is exactly what the country needs because sports opens doors for the country and gets our name out there.”

Gardiner thanked the BTC team for bringing him on board, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) and the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) for the support, and everyone who has always been there for him every step of the way.

The Murphy Town, Abaco, product said he’s living a dream as World and Olympic Champion and is still overjoyed with what he was able to accomplish in athletics over the past two years.

“For me, it’s still so unreal. I feel like I’m still living a dream. To come from a small island and make it on the international stage, I can’t ask for anything more than that. I’m just happy and looking forward to doing it again,” he said.

Newly-appointed sports minister Mario Bowleg congratulated Gardiner on his accomplishments and said he looks forward to working with him in the immediate future.

“I am honored to stand before you today as the new Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, witnessing this very generous gesture that is being extended to one of our finest athletes,” said Bowleg. “The exemplary record as a corporate citizen by BTC over the years should not go unnoticed. Not only is this company a giant in the telecommunications industry, but the high-speed connection within the community, and the support of cultural and sporting events places them gigabytes ahead of the competition. Their support of events such as the CARIFTA Games, the world relays, and our athletes, are of particular note and very much appreciated.

“It is partnerships and donations such as these that has created opportunities for our athletes and the country to shine above the rest. Steven Gardiner is a perfect example of someone who has risen from humble beginnings, and with limited access to facilities, to become a global 400 meters superstar. His quiet and friendly demeanor would make him an excellent brand ambassador. We know Stevie will represent well and we wish him a healthy record-breaking season.”

Bowleg encouraged Gardiner to always aspire for greatness, to represent the country proudly, and to remain humble.

“It’s very important for us to have corporate sponsors like BTC grooming and sustaining these athletes to maintain the levels where they are at because the government in itself don’t have all of the funding to ensure these athletes get the necessary training,” he said. “When corporate sponsors like BTC come on board, this is exactly what we need. While we would want to increase our donations, BTC is making life much easier for the government and we truly appreciate that.

“What we want to do is upgrade the facilities on the islands to ensure that the coaches on the islands could nurture these athletes with the necessary training that is needed for them to get to the next level. We also have to ensure that the coaches are trained and certified, and that is something that we are working with the various federations toward.

“With no sports going on, this is the time now for the us to get the coaches certified. Once we open back up for competition, then the coaches will be prepared and able to better train the athletes.”

BOC President Romell “Fish” Knowles commended BTC for “always” being there as a supportive corporate citizen for sports across the length and breadth of The Bahamas.

“BTC is always there marking the way and has paved the way for Steven,” said Knowles. “Sports empowers and motivates a country. The 2012 Olympics brought London out of a recession – that is the power of sports. When you look at the impact it has on young people in our community, the many scholarships that our young athletes get, the maintenance of fitness levels, and the overall health of a nation, sports is one of the greatest commodities in the country. It is a vital tool and it is about equal opportunity for those who are dedicated to sports. Stevie came up through humble beginnings, through the islands, and that shows what sports could do for our athletes. I congratulate Stevie and I say to BTC that we are pleased with the sponsorship and please keep them coming.”

Gardiner’s first coach, Rev. Anthony Williams from Moore’s Island in the Abacos, said he had no doubt about the talent of the Bahamian World and Olympic Champion since he started working with Gardiner in his teenage years.

“From I first saw Stevie, and he had to duck to get into the house, one thing came to my mind, and that is I’m going to be an Olympic coach. I believed in him from day one,” said Williams. “Stevie was a mannerly kid with good discipline, and actually helped keep some of the other athletes in check. I saw from day one that he would be a great ambassador for this country, and I’m excited that BTC has this same belief in him and this same approach. I’m very proud of him. He has never let me down and we will continue to expect great things from him. May God bless you and may God bless BTC.”

Flown into the country in celebration of the moment along with Rev. Williams were Gardiner’s parents. His father Steven Gardiner Sr. said he is still in awe of what his son was able to accomplish and is grateful to BTC and everyone who has always supported his son.

“This is amazing – to know that I have a son who has accomplished so much and is responsible for all of this. I’m so proud of him. It’s unbelievable,” said Steven Sr. “He is well-loved and well-respected back home. Everyone is just so proud of what he has done. It’s amazing. I can’t describe the feeling. To have BTC come on board and support him is a wonderful feeling. He has been through so much and endured so much, and to see him recognized in this way is a special feeling.”

BTC CEO Foster said Gardiner’s speed is a perfect complement to BTC’s speed of its fiber-optic services and fits in nicely with what they are trying to accomplish.

“It’s all about an endorsement of our super-fast high-speed services,” said Foster. “We are deploying more fiber optics throughout the communities and ensuring that people have the best value of services, so that they could continue to get access to good telecommunications and reliable internet throughout the archipelago.

“The fact that we have invested in youth and sports, and we will continue to do that, that’s a return enough for us – to continue to showcase the great things that can come out of this very small country. It’s amazing that we are able to stand on the same stage as countries with populations much larger than ours. We have some of the greatest athletes in the world, and Stevie is an example of that. We are truly proud to have him on board. Stevie’s journey is very similar to BTC’s and it ultimately represents everything that we are as a company in serving and connecting our communities. We both embrace the traits of hard work, dedication and perseverance, striving to be the best at what we do every day. We are happy to have ‘Speedy’ Stevie join the BTC family as an ambassador for our super-fast internet, which, like him, just keeps getting better and better. We’re putting in the work and constantly improving to deliver the results that everyone wants. So, just like Stevie, BTC is always giving its all to elevate its performance for all Bahamians.”

BTC has started fiber expansion and deployment on Gardiner’s home island of Abaco. The company is providing a minimum of 100 megabits per second (mbps) of speed to customers throughout the island and is continuing its deployment throughout the Abaco Cays. Residents in Murphy Town, Dundas Town, Central Pines, Don McKay Boulevard and Green Turtle Cay are now enjoying connectivity and some of the best in-home experiences.

Gardiner begins a school tour on Wednesday and will virtually visit with hundreds of students at H.O. Nash Junior High in New Providence, L.N. Coakley High School in Exuma, Moore’s Island All-Age School and Jack Hayward High School in Grand Bahama.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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