Swiss running brand On tells the inspiring story of David Brown, the world's fastest blind sprinter, in a stylish short film appearing ahead of the Paralympics.
The film, "Untethered," depicts the unique partnership between Brown, who returns to defend his 100m title at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, and his running guide, Jerome Avery, who has led him to success as a gold medalist, two-time World Champion, world record breaker and the first totally blind athlete to run 100m in under 11 seconds. Eventually, it reveals that Avery is being replaced by a new guide at the coming games.
The story also explores Brown's youth and the impact of a life-changing disease on his sporting ambitions. It reveals how he has never seen the lane lines, starting blocks or the curves of the track after contracting Kawasaki disease when he was 15 months old and lost his sight by the time he was a teenager.
The film was written by creative director Andy Fackrell and directed by Little Minx’s Andrew Dosunmu ("Mother of George," "Where is Kyra?" and Netflix’s upcoming "Beauty") and was filmed in New York at locations including Coney Island and Harlem. It also features cameos by two of Brown's favourite entertainers: J.B. Smoove, of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fame, and The Roots’ Black Thought.
"One of the main reasons I made this film is to dispel the notion that disabled people have a less full life than the norm,” said Fackrell in a statement. “In David’s case, he refuses to let blindness slow him down in his dream to be an even faster sprinter, and to experience all that life has to offer. This film is about reframing disability in a positive light.”
For On, the brand says the film encapsulates its "Dream On" philosophy, which encourages people to take the path less explored.
“Untethered demonstrates the true meaning of unwavering human spirit,” added Feliciano Robayna, head of sports marketing at On. “This is a story about conviction and a shared belief in being able to let go of all fears when deprived of sight and have faith in another human being.”