SKINS has launched a new campaign on its Pure Sport platform which challenges the people who have failed to uphold the True Spirit Of Competition.
As you know, we’ve never been afraid to stand up and represent those who want to either participate in, or watch competitive sport that is fair and open to all. We’ve done it before when we withdrew our support for a rugby league team that cheated in Australia. We added to the pressure on a damaging regime at the top of world cycling that was ultimately toppled and we stood up on behalf of people who want honest and fair sport to be contested on an equal basis in a drug-free environment.
For the next two weeks, SKINS Pure Sport will be undertaking a campaign that highlights why awarding the Winter Olympics to Sochi is wrong. We’re calling it the “International Olympic Contradictions (#IOC) campaign. The campaign highlights the recalcitrance of the International Olympic Committee in selecting a country to host the Winter Olympics that doesn’t acknowledge the rights of all to live in a safe and comfortable environment. As the Olympic Charter itself says, the IOC will “act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic movement” but in selecting Russia and Sochi, the IOC has effectively endorsed a country which has a dubious human rights record and an active policy of repressing the freedom of one group of individuals.
For the next two weeks or so you can keep up to date with the story as it unfolds via the Pure Sport Twitter account and on the Pure Sport website. Full campaign information is already available on the website and for the duration of the Games, we’ll be releasing a series of messages daily which highlight how the selection of Sochi contradicts important elements of the IOC’s own charter. These will include quotes from key officials such as former President Jacques Rogge and will highlight the hypocritical path that was followed to select Sochi as host City. SKINS and Pure Sport support sport for all and in awarding such an important event to Sochi, the IOC has ignored that most basic of its own core principles. The world’s major sporting events must operate in a wholly unrestricted environment that is inclusive of all groups, irrespective of colour, race or sexual orientation and Russia’s anti-gay law is a prime example of that not being the case. This campaign specifically points out going to a part of the world where repression is a part of the culture, cannot be allowed to happen again.
In the past, athletes and nations have used the power of boycott as means of protest, but we don’t believe that’s appropriate in this case because it would effectively deny athletes exactly the sort of opportunity we’re speaking up for. At SKINS, we’re proud to have a total of more than 25 partner athletes taking part in the games in Sochi. The partner list includes athletes from Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Togo and our campaign is about highlighting the fact that it’s not just an athlete’s basic expectation to compete without fear or favour, but also those who live there who are left behind at the end of the event.
The Pure Sport campaign aims to showcase the inconsistencies which discredit world sport. We’re adding our voice to that of other groups who want to ensure the IOC – and any governing body for that matter – practices what it preaches. In this case, the many different groups who are protesting may not have the relevant strength to make a difference, but together we can shout much louder.
For us, this is another example where the True Sport Of Competition is NOT being upheld. Put simply, it goes against the core principles that we at SKINS believe in and not for the first time, we’re not afraid to say so.