Wayde Van Niekerk has once again made South Africa proud with his performance in Switzerland on Tuesday 15 September. The Olympic champion won the 400m event at the Gala dei Castelli meet in Bellinzona, Switzerland, which was his first international race in three years.
Audi has utilised its brand partnership with the South African Olympic runner and world record holder in its #Lane8 campaign. The brand campaign is driven on social media and centres on Van Niekerk’s historic victory at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, where he broke a 17-year-old world record in the 400m sprint, from the eighth lane.
Wayde van Niekerk: Fearless optimism
The #Lane8 campaign, which premiered on Audi’s YouTube channel on Friday 11 September, is aimed at inspiring South Africans to strive for greatness and to overcome doubt and hardship no matter the challenge faced.
The video is an account of how one can defy the odds, with a positive mind-set and a resilient attitude, using the metaphorical link to Van Niekerk’s personal life story and sporting success in athletics.
“I believe that anyone can be a champion of their own progress. No matter your background, history or current circumstance, if you can bravely adopt a fearlessly optimistic belief, your purpose and will to progress is unstoppable,” explained Van Niekerk.
We are not defined by our challenges but by how we rise above it to succeed.”
Watch Audi’s #Lane8 video here:
#Lane8: The road to glory
Wayde is acknowledged as one of the most inspirational South Africans of his generation and a home-grown world champion. He was the first athlete to run:
- the 100m in less than 10 seconds,
- 200m in under 20 seconds and
- 400m in under 44 seconds.
His historic win in the 400m final at the 2016 Olympic Games, not only broke a world record that had stood for 17 years, but it also marked the first time that an athlete had won an Olympic race, starting from the eighth lane.
Due to the staggered start in track and field events, athletes starting from the eighth lane are at a disadvantage, often with no view of their competitors until the last sprint. This makes it difficult to pace yourself or gauge your closest competitor.
Performance, bravery, resilience
Following his world-record feat, Wayde sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury during 2017 and has spent a long period in rehabilitation before returning to competitive running this year, with an eye on 2021’s Olympic Games in Japan.
“Despite the many challenges that he has faced, Wayde has never let his circumstances hold him back,” said Audi South Africa head of marketing and product Tarryn Knight.
“He exemplifies performance, bravery, resilience and progress, which resonates with our brand values of Vorsprung. We are proud to have partnered with him on the #Lane8 campaign and excited to share a heart-warming, local content piece with South Africa,” concluded Knight.
To read more about the #Lane8 story, click here.