Letter to Athletes

Photo by Steven Lelham on Unsplash

Dear Athlete,

Yesterday was the 8th of August, 2023 –  International Safe Sport Day.

We hope you don’t know what today means. We hope you don’t need to know what today means. Honestly, we hope that one day, this awareness day no longer exists.

However, in 2023, this day is more important than ever. Athletes across the globe aren’t as safe as they deserve to be. Right now, 40% to 50% of athletes have experienced mild harassment to severe abuse.  

There are people who are standing up for you, using all of their strength to share their experiences to shout to the world that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. They give us hope that change will come.

But, as we write to you today, we have yet to make the progress we had hoped for current athletes. Reports of hazing are running rampant; athletes aren’t receiving fair wages, and we continue to see athletes shamed for simply being who they are.

We hope you don’t have to choose between the sport you love and your mental and physical health. We hope that you can pursue your dreams without fear of discrimination.

We hope the tennis court is not a box that entraps you but offers endless opportunities. We hope that at the athletics track, your only worry is the potential for a cramp, not the person holding the stopwatch. We hope a whistle’s sound tells you to sprint, not to scupper, and that endless trails feel free, not frightening.

We hope you still want medals and glory because, no, your ambition should not be forced to change because of abuse you experienced in your sport. But I also hope that you are told you are worth so much more than a plaque on the wall. I hope you are treated as a human being.

Over the years, our desires for the future generations of sport have changed. We pave this way for social change so no athlete lies awake, dreading what tomorrow brings.  

With love, 

TAOS x Kyniska