Olympians and Paralympians from around of the world are calling on global leaders to ensure free and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines.
With just over three weeks until the start of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, the group of athletes released a video, produced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), where they stressed the importance of staying united to continue to fight the pandemic effectively:
“As athletes, we can bring the world together through the power of sport. Now, more than ever, we stand united to use that power of sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Movement to help win the battle against COVID-19 because we go faster, we aim higher, we are stronger when we stand together,” the video said.
The IOC supports the initiative of Noble Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus to make the COVID-19 vaccines a Global Common Good.
“I believe in making the COVID-19 vaccines a Global Common Good because if there is one lesson that I hope we all have learned from this global coronavirus pandemic, it is: we need more solidarity. Solidarity within societies and solidarity among societies. Distributing vaccines as a Global Common Good to everyone around the planet will be a great sign of solidarity for all humankind and demonstrate that we are always stronger together,” IOC President Thomas Bach said at the time.
The video features more than 20 Olympians and Paralympians from all different disciplines in the Olympic community.
These include Olympic champions Federica Pellegrini (swimming, Italy), Seung-min Ryu (table tennis, South Korea), three-time Olympic medalist Pau Gasol (basketball, Spain), two-time Olympic medalist Maja Martyna Włoszczowska (cycling, Poland), and Humphrey Kayange (rugby, Kenya), who are all members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
The IOC and the International Paralympic Committee have worked closely with the National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees to assist their athletes, officials and Games stakeholders residing in their territories to get vaccinated before the Tokyo 2020 Games last summer, and are doing so again now before the participants travel to China in a few weeks.