Environmentalist Lizzie Carr hails “display of unity” at Lausanne 2020

Whether you prefer taking to the athletics track, the ski slopes or the water, the sport has always represented an opportunity to step away from the goings on of day-to-day life. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you come from, or what you believe in: everyone can unite through love of sport and competition.

Environmentalist Lizzie Carr recognises this and was awed by the scene upon which she set her eyes at the Youth Olympic Village at Lausanne 2020. What the Briton saw when she looked at the Vortex was a display of over 70 different flags, each representing a different country competing at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

Athletes on an evening run at the Vortex in The Youth Olympic Village - OIS/IOC

Carr admits to feeling emotional at the sight in an Instagram post, saying: “As hundreds of the world’s best competitive athletes hung out and lived together under one roof in the Olympic Village, the political tension and civil unrest round the world continued.

“It struck me just how much we need sport. It’s a leveller. It doesn’t discriminate. Everyone has put in the work and everyone respects and abides by the same set of rules. It’s all equal and despite the opposing philosophies of some nations, the display of unity from athletes – particularly at the YOG – sends such an important message to the world.”

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UNITING THE WORLD THROUGH SPORT On my last day at the Winter Youth Olympics I toured the Athlete Village. As I stood in front of flags from all 106 nations taking part I felt a bit choked. On that same day, as hundreds of the world’s best competitive athletes hung out and lived together under one roof in the Olympic Village, the political tension and civil unrest round the world continued. It struck me just how much we need sport. It’s a leveller. It doesn’t discriminate. Everyone has put in the work and everyone respects and abides by the same set of rules. It’s all equal and despite the opposing philosophies of some nations, the display of unity from athletes - particularly at the Youth Olympics - sends such an important message to the world. Under the fragility of global discord there is friendly rivalry, peace and international cooperation - and this makes me hopeful for the future. @lausanne2020 @youtholympics @olympicchannel #ad #GameChangers #winterolympics #youtholympics #switzerland #wintersports #climate change #Lausanne2020

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Carr is the founder of Plastic Patrol, an initiative set up in 2016 designed to combat the growing amount of plastic being disposed of irresponsibly worldwide, and has travelled across the globe spreading the message of sustainability, with her organisation already having helped to curb plastic waste in over 60 countries. Lausanne 2020 has also played its part in raising awareness about plastic waste, holding a number of “plogging” events in the build-up to the Winter YOG.

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HOW CAN WE PROTECT OUR WINTERS?⁣ ⁣ Climate breakdown is putting the world’s mountains at real risk. Finding ways to feel like we’re taking action is hard, but by talking about it we can advance the conversation and have impact.⁣ ⁣ This year the Winter Youth Olympics has introduced 117 measures to make 2020 its greenest Games yet. I’ve spent the last couple of days in Switzerland to see how this international sporting event has shaken up its sustainable standards.⁣ ⁣ ???? For the first time at an Olympic tournament, athletes are using public transport to get to events to reduce carbon emission.⁣ ⁣ ⛷ Spectators also have access to free public transport to reach events across the region. ⁣I’ve travelled everywhere here by train and bus! ???? Bobsleigh, luge and skeleton are taking place on a natural track while speedskating is happening on a frozen lake to make the most of the natural environment - a first for the a Winter Olympics. ⁣ ⁣ ???? The Youth Olympic flame has been making its way around all 26 Swiss cantons, its journey supported by a fleet of zero-emission cell cars.⁣ ⁣ It’s been reassuring to see how sustainability is being prioritised and real action taken quickly, but more can be done. It’s essential that changes and improvements are introduced with urgency if we want to carry on enjoying sports and events like this.⁣ ⁣ #ad #lausanne2020 #winterolympics #switzerland.

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Thanks to her travels, Carr knows more than most about the political tensions and civil unrest which face a large number of people globally. In 2018, she navigated her way down the Hudson River in the USA on a paddleboard for over 250km to highlight how polluted the world’s waterways are with plastic litter and debris. Now, her visit to Lausanne 2020 has highlighted the increasing awareness and commitment of all to hosting cleaner, more sustainable events and ensuring that the planet is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

The environmental activist shared how Lausanne 2020 has inspired her, too, thanks to the spirit of the young athletes competing: “Under the fragility of global discord there is friendly rivalry, peace and international cooperation – and this makes me hopeful for the future.”

OIS/IOC