10 Nov 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

More than 50 of the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic athletes - representing over 45 countries - have joined forces to appeal to global governments’ to create a “healthy and safe” planet.

In a video entitled ‘Dear Leaders of The World’, athletes including tennis champion Andy Murray, Kenyan two-time Olympic champion and Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, Spanish basketballer and three-time Olympic medalist Paul Gasol and wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft MBE, make their powerful appeal.

They are hoping that its sentiment – which highlights the dedication of the world’s athletes to being the best – will bring home the need for global powers to use their determination and skills to preserve and protect the planet.

Each athlete, from countries including Qatar, USA, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the UK, have given their support to the campaign, which was the initiative of gold medal winning sailor, Hannah Mills MBE – who also appears in the video – and rower, Melissa Wilson, and supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Both women are huge supporters of environmental causes and worked together to create the video, ahead of COP26, the United National Climate Change conference which is taking place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

“Sport has huge cultural and political influence. The platform athletes have and the support they receive from fans means we are in a key position to communicate about what matters,” said Hannah.

“We also believe that the qualities that athletes and sports cultivate are really important in terms of how we approach climate change: qualities like resilience, teamwork, courage, ambition to push boundaries, strategic thinking, staying focussed under pressure.

Melissa added that the pair had been overwhelmed by the response from their fellow athletes when they asked them to take part.

“COP26 presents a massive opportunity for all the global leaders to up their climate commitments, which is essential if we’re going to avoid widespread and catastrophic climate impacts over the coming decades.

“We wanted world leaders to hear from some of Tokyo’s highest-profile athletes how much it matters that they are ambitious in what they set out to do, tapping into the human capacity to push limits in the face of adversity and come together to accomplish something beyond what we can do as individuals."