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Australia’s most decorated Olympian Emma McKeon’s message to world leaders gathering in Glasgow

Australia’s most successful Olympian Emma McKeon has joined with athletes from around the world to send leaders a powerful message on climate change.

It comes as representatives gather at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

The group of Olympic champions recalled challenges they overcame to compete at the Tokyo Olympics and asked world leaders to do the same in tackling climate change.

Swimmer McKeon recorded a message as part of the Dear Leaders of the World video.

Last week, McKeon took out the 2021 FINA Swimming World Cup in Kazan, Russia off the back of her seven medals at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

The two-minute clip also asked world leaders “to lead the pack” and “go faster”, recognising they, like athletes, are “under immense pressure and adversity”.

Marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge, British diving champion Tom Daley, tennis great Andy Murray and New Zealand rower Emma Twigg all offered their profiles to the message.

Emma McKeon dominated at the Toyko Olympics to become Australia’s most successful Olympian.(Getty: Brendon Thorne)

While it was produced with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the plea was the brainchild of British sailor Hannah Mills.

“The Olympic dream is all about being the best you can – and that doesn’t just mean competing or winning medals; it means being a good global citizen,” Mills said.

“I feel that we have a responsibility to use our platforms to highlight the need for all of us to live and operate in a more responsible manner.”

Brisbane 2032 will be first Olympic Games required to be climate positive

Sustainability is a key goal of the IOC and the Olympic Agenda moving forward.

Brisbane 2032 will be the first Olympic Games required to be climate positive, although Paris 2024 is working on staging a climate-positive event.

The IOC has also helped develop the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, which drives climate action from international sporting bodies, 270 organisations have signed up since its inception in 2018.

President Thomas Bach said the IOC encourages athletes to leverage their profile to promote sustainability through sport.

“Sport has the power to make the world a better place, and today we have an opportunity to use this power in the face of climate change.”

The video features more than 50 Olympians and Paralympians from all corners of the world.

Global negotiations will continue in Glasgow over the next two weeks with around 120 world leaders coming together.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told the conference Australia was committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and has stressed that technological developments will be key to driving down pollution.

The UN Sports for Climate Action Framework includes five principles which aim to reducing overall climate impact, educate and advocate for climate change action.


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