One of the cultural trend-setters in the soul patch category, Olympic short-track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno will try to help Teva Pharmaceuticals sell more of its asthma inhaler ProAir HFA.
Teva is based in Israel, but has its Americas headquarters in North Wales, Montgomery County, and other facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Asthma is a disease and exercise-induced bronchospasm is one symptom. EIB is a temporary narrowing of airways, showing up as shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing. EIB can be caused by other problems including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Ohno is one of only four Americans to win three medals in a single Winter Olympics.
Ohno gained fame in another realm by teaming with Julianne Hough in "Dancing with the Stars."
(Yes, we know soul patches were big facial hits, starting in the 1950s and 1960s.)
"Early in my career, I had difficulty breathing during workouts and my performance on the ice suffered," Ohno said in a statement released by Teva. Ohno was
first diagnosed with EIB in 2000 as he prepared to compete in Salt Lake City before an international audience. "It wasn't until I was diagnosed with EIB and received the proper treatment that I was able to reach my peak performance. I hope that by bringing my experience to the forefront, I can encourage others with EIB to seek out a diagnosis and treatment strategy so that they too can pursue their dreams."
Teva's respiratory division, Ohno and the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) have teamed up to launch EIB All Stars - a national campaign and contest to raise awareness of EIB.
The statement said EIB stories can be submitted at www.EIBAllStars.com. The contest is open to United States citizens residing in the contiguous
48 states, or District of Columbia, who are ages 18 years or older. Contest entrants must have been diagnosed with EIB or be submitting on behalf of a family member diagnosed with EIB. Entries may be submitted now through February 18, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
We've asked Teva why residents of Hawaii and Alaska are excluded and will update when we get a reply.
[UPDATE: A Teva spokeswoman says the extra cost of airfare to and from Hawaii and Alaska was the reason for excluding residents from those states.]