Olympians and Paralympians call on world leaders to ensure equitable access to COVID−19 vaccines

In a video produced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), athletes are calling on world leaders and decision-makers to ensure free and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The call comes a few weeks before the start of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, which will take place from 4 to 20 February.

Launched today, the video features more than 20 Olympians and Paralympians from all corners of the world.

These include Olympic champions Federica Pellegrini (swimming, Italy) and Seung-min Ryu (table tennis, South Korea), three-time Olympic medallist Pau Gasol (basketball, Spain), two-time Olympic medallist Maja Martyna Włoszczowska (cycling, Poland), and Humphrey Kayange (rugby, Kenya),who are all members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

Many other Olympic and Paralympic champions are also included: Olympic champions Valerie Adams (athletics, New Zealand), Alistair Brownlee (triathlon, UK), Osea Kolinisau (rugby, Fiji), Gianmarco Tamberi (athletics, Italy) and IOC President Thomas Bach (fencing); Paralympic champions Martina Caironi (athletics, Italy), Ellie Cole (swimming, Australia), Jakub Krako (Alpine skiing, Slovakia), Tatyana McFadden (athletics, Nordic skiing, USA), Jitske Visser (wheelchair basketball, The Netherlands) and Annika Zeyen (cycling, Germany).

Other athletes featured are: Olympic medallists Danka Bartekova (shooting, Slovakia), PV Sindhu (badminton, India) and Luiza Zlotkowska (speed skating, Poland); Olympians Gaby Ahrens (shooting, Namibia), Jonathan Borlée (athletics, Belgium), Uche Eke (gymnastic, Nigeria), Ann-Christin Goliaß (sailing, Germany), Alex Hua Tian (equestrian, China), Niluka Karunaratne (badminton, Sri Lanka), Silvia Mittermüller (snowboarding, Germany), Alexi Pappas (athletics, Greece), Akiko Thomson (swimming, Philippines) and Gabriela Trana (athletics, Costa Rica).

In their message, the athletes stress 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 because we go faster, we aim higher, we are stronger when we stand together”.