Jul 05, 2024

Meet Our People and Partners / Feature Story


Team Panasonic Athletes Meet and Talk in Japan: Hannah Cockroft and Noah Malone Visit Panasonic Museum and Share Passion Toward Paris Games

In May 2024, renowned para-athletes Hannah Cockroft from the United Kingdom and Noah Malone from the United States, embarked on a transformational journey to Japan. Their visit to the Panasonic Museum in Osaka, which is operated by Panasonic Group and showcases the company’s development, innovations, and contributions to technology and society since its founding, came in the wake of the duo’s impressive performances at the Kobe 2024 World Para Athletics Championships, and just ahead of the highly anticipated Paralympic Games, Paris 2024. 

The duo received enthusiastic attention at the Kobe event, held from May 17 to 25, reflecting the growing support and investment in Paralympic sports by the Kobe organization and its audience. Hannah secured two gold medals in the 100m and 800m wheelchair races and a silver in the universal relay. Noah earned a silver medal in the 100m run. 

Following these achievements, the two Team Panasonic ambassadors toured the museum and shared insights on their passions and experiences as para-athletes with Panasonic Newsroom Global.

A Conversation with Hannah Cockroft and Noah Malone

Why collaborate with Panasonic as a member of Team Panasonic?

Hannah: “It is very important to me that I am a member of this group. In particular, I have learned a lot about our sustainability efforts and realized that small individual actions can have a big impact. Seeing Panasonic’s environmental efforts made me feel that I can do more myself. It is great to see a large company supporting para-athletes. As a Panasonic Sustainability Ambassador, I share their commitment. Over the course of my career as a wheelchair athlete, I have seen the wonderful roads I train on become littered with trash. Panasonic is trying to make a positive change in society through sustainability. I personally feel that I am involved in a really interesting cause.

Noah:I relate the brand action slogan—‘Create Today. Enrich Tomorrow.’—to sports, especially athletics, and feel that today’s practice and effort will produce tomorrow’s results. I aim to grow 1% every day, and this philosophy resonates deeply with my own athletic life. Contributing to society has always been important to me. Whether on or off the track, I’m not just doing things for myself. My goal is to inspire others. Running track with a visual impairment, especially after losing my vision, is largely about inspiring people. That is the main pillar of my efforts.”

Can you please share your experiences in overcoming personal challenges?

Hannah: “When I was young I wasn’t encouraged to participate in sports and I always felt like an outsider. But with the right encouragement I was able to overcome my physical challenges and found my place with wheelchair racing—it made such a dramatic difference to my life. And look at me now! I am so very happy to have set a new 100m record. I am also surprised and pleased to have achieved a faster time in the 800m event than at last year’s World Championships in Paris.”

Noah: “At the age of 13 I lost my eyesight but decided to continue track competitions. I am always grateful for the support of my family, which has helped me achieve my current goals. My own motto, ‘Losing Vision, Not Dreams,’ which is also the title of my book, expresses my strong will not to lose my dreams even without eyesight. These words have been an important motto in my life and have always inspired me.”

How can the audience help strengthen the Paralympic Games?

Hannah: “There is so much about Para sports that is just incredible, and it was amazing that this was reflected in the size of the crowds at the World Championships in Kobe. Having large audiences made such a difference for all of us athletes, and I really hope that the same energy and enthusiasm is brought to the Paralympic Games. Then, as every small action can contribute to huge change for the future, it would be amazing to accumulate sustainability activities that anyone and everyone can immediately implement, such as recycling, reducing plastic materials, and promoting the use of public transportation. I am also working with athletic organizations to reduce the use of single-use plastics, an issue that goes beyond sports.”

Noah: “In the future, I am interested in coaching and would like to share my knowledge with the younger generation. I also have a strong interest in sustainability and believe that more people should take it seriously for a sustainable future.”

Photo: Hannah Cockroft and Noah Malone

How did you prepare for the Paris Games?

Hannah: “I’ve been working incredibly hard in both training and the various events leading up to the Paris Games and, of course, I am now aiming for gold medals and world records. My focus is truly on the competition and achieving my best, for myself, my team and everyone else who is supporting me.” 

Noah: “Regarding the fact that two major international competitions (the Para Championships in Kobe and the Paralympics) will be held in the same year, which is rare this year, I am not satisfied with my recent silver medal in the 100-meter run in Kobe. However, with the Paris Games coming up shortly, I am positive that I will have a chance to correct my results in the meantime.”

What were your impressions of the museum visit?

Hannah: “I was so impressed when I learned about the founders and their history. The double socket invention in particular was awesome—Matsushita-san really fought hard for his beliefs and so great that it was also made from recycled materials! As an athlete I am also always seeking new training methods and innovations, so the history of Panasonic overcoming challenges and its evolution is something I can relate to and find very inspiring.

Noah: “I toured the museum and was impressed by the history of the company. In particular, I empathized with the philosophy of the founder and the 7 Principles that the Company stands for. The philosophy of contributing to society through business and the humility of business are particularly important, and I can relate them to my own sports career and life.

What will be the first thing you do once the Games are over?

Hannah: “Celebrate! I am also actually planning to get married. As soon as the Games are over I will start preparing for the wedding. So I won’t have time to relax until October or so.”

Noah: “I plan to spend time with my family, as they’ll be there, and there’s nothing better than that. I’ll also hang out with friends and go out to eat. We’ll be there for about a month for the training camp and the Games. By then, I’ll be pretty tired and ready to go home.”

Do you have any advice for athletes and non-athletes alike regarding their goals and training?

Hannah: “It is important to focus on yourself and have goals. It is important to break big goals into smaller goals and feel a sense of accomplishment every day. In the four years between each Paralympics, you can feel a little lost, disheartened, and wonder why you are doing this. I sometimes wonder why I am doing this. But if you have different goals every year, you will stay motivated. For example, my first goal this year was to come to Japan, to compete in the Games in Kobe, and to achieve good results. The important thing is not to set big goals that feel impossible. You have to accumulate small things, just like with sustainability! That way, the big goals will be accomplished much more quickly.”

Noah: “I totally agree. Of course, it is important for each individual to put forth their best effort, but it is also important to maintain that effort and motivation, as well as ingenuity. I feel that it is important to set goals that are within reach, rather than to expand the big picture.”

Closing Message to Readers

Through their interviews, Hannah and Noah conveyed their deep passion for competition, their pride as members of Team Panasonic, and their unwavering commitment to sustainability. Their words will undoubtedly inspire many and act as a catalyst for change. Panasonic remains dedicated to supporting these athletes as they continue to achieve great things, and we have high expectations for the future activities of our ambassadors.

About the Athletes

Hannah Cockroft

Born on July 30, 1992, in Yorkshire, England, Hannah Cockroft is a celebrated wheelchair racer. Despite being born with a deformed leg and foot due to brain damage from two cardiac arrests at birth, she began her journey in para-athletics at the age of 12. Competing in the last three Paralympic Games, she has secured an impressive seven gold medals. In 2017, she made history as the first para-athlete to win the British Sportswoman of the Year award. Beyond her athletic achievements, Hannah is a prominent speaker, advocating for para-athletes at various events.

Paralympic Achievements

  • 2012 London Paralympics: 2 Gold Medals (100m, 200m)
  • 2016 Rio Paralympics: 3 Gold Medals (100m, 400m, 800m)
  • 2020 Tokyo Paralympics: 2 Gold Medals (100m, 800m)

Noah Malone

Born on October 13, 2001, in Maryland, USA, Noah Malone is a distinguished sprinter. At the age of 13, he developed an incurable disease that led to the loss of his central vision. He has now turned pro and is training full-time at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. Noah uses his personal experiences to motivate young people. He is also the author of “Losing Vision, Not Dreams: Reflections on My Teenage Years,” a book that inspires young athletes with disabilities.

Paralympic Achievements

  • 2020 Tokyo Paralympics: 1 Gold Medal (4x100m mixed relay), 2 Silver Medals (100m, 400m)

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