Since the start of the basketball season, Stacey Freyer, a sophomore at Ohio State University and Jennifer Hanson, a senior out of Georgetown University, have been rooting for their teams to reach the national championship. They never dreamed that days before, they would be the ones to actually make the big shot. Freyer and Hanson made history when each successfully hit the world’s longest basketball shot.
Freyer and Hanson each hit a 100-foot hoop-target with a regulation basketball…from the gondola of the Goodyear blimp, 500 feet above the goal, winning the Goodyear “Get There” Blimp Shot Contest. A total of four contestants â€“ representing each school in the Men’s Division I college basketball semifinals â€“ participated in the contest.
“I thought it looked makeable,” said Freyer. “When I shot it, we were way past the target, but it looked like it started out dead on. When it was good, we all started cheering. Everyone was excited even the pilots.”
Hanson said, “I thought I missed it by a mile. And then, while the ball was falling, it looked like it changed direction. I saw it hit that target and bounce up and then I knew I made it. I was surprised, but it was a good surprise.”
At first, when The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company informed Freyer and Hanson that they had been selected to participate in the Goodyear “Get There” Blimp Shot Contest, it seemed easy. Shoot a regulation-size basketball through a giant hoop target measuring 100-feet across. Then nearly impossible â€“ make the shot from 500-feet away while flying in the Goodyear Blimp.
For their amazing feats, both earned the Goodyear “Get There” prize package which includes travel, accommodations and tickets for two to attend one of the sporting events where the Goodyear blimp will provide aerial coverage over the next 12 months. In addition, video of Freyer’s and Hanson’s winning shots and the balls they used will be sent to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. for display and historical purposes.
Freyer and Hanson were part of a group of students representing each of the final four teams in the Men’s Division I college basketball tournament, and they were the only ones to successfully make the once-in-a-lifetime shot. Also participating were Chris Smith, a senior from South Lake Tahoe, California, for UCLA and Alex Perez, a senior from Miami, Florida for the University of Florida.
Freyer, a sophomore from Woodville, Ohio, has served for the past two years in the Athletic Communications department as the student assistant covering the men’s basketball team. The communications major, who dreamed of attending Ohio State since she was a young girl, has attended every home game this season in addition to witnessing the team’s exciting victory in the Big 10 Championship.
Hanson, a senior out of Turtle Lake, North Dakota, is a four-year cheerleader with Georgetown and she has been to every home men’s basketball game this year. In addition to cheering for the men’s basketball team, she also cheers for the football and women’s basketball teams.
The contest was conducted in support of Goodyear’s new advertising campaign, which is built upon the theme of “Get There.” Aided by the Goodyear blimp, one of the world’s most familiar and popular corporate icons, the campaign features the “blimp pilots” who represent Goodyear’s “eyes” from above, looking ahead to help drivers find a better way to “get there” to their destinations. Additionally, as the exclusive aerial coverage provider for CBS’ broadcast of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Goodyear is providing views from above for more than 30 tournament games in eight cities across the country, including the Final Four and Championship. Not since the Olympic Games has Goodyear dedicated as many aerial assets over so many days to cover one event. Goodyear’s “Get There” campaign will be seen throughout the year in key magazines, online and during high-profile sporting events and prime-time programming.