Almost a week into the Olympic games and competition is well underway! Today we highlight two more Olympic athletes in support of the anti-slavery movement: Sara Isakovic of Slovenia and Mathias Gydesen of Denmark.
Before competing at the 2012 Olympic games, Sara Isakovic, one of Slovenia’s top swimmers (200 Free and 100 Fly), and UC Berkeley collegiate National Champion, took our Slavery Footprint survey and discovered that she has 44 slaves working for her. After visiting the site, Sara commented: “I’ve never really considered how many clothing items I have in my closet, make up articles in my drawer, shoes, sporting equipment, etc. The survey really made me think about my material possessions and the people that work day and night to make them available to me”. With 27 million people enslaved in the world, forced to work without pay, there is a dire need for those experiencing the sweetness of freedom to fight for justice. For Isakovic, awareness is key: “It’s incredibly important to be conscious of slavery because in our materialistic society no one cares how the products on the shelves have come into existence. Knowing that people around the world suffer and are exploited as cheap labor helps us re-think what things we buy, and how many things we actually need”.
Danish Swimmer, Mathias Gydesen represented Denmark in the 100 backstroke on July 28th. As a UC Berkeley National Champion student-athlete, Mathias participated in Slavery Footprint’s Campus Challenge this past Spring and helped the university earn Free World Points to take action against his own Slavery Footprint score. With 35 slaves working to produce his lifestyle, he is in full support of using all available resources to demand products Made in a Free World. Gydesen, who trains twice a day for swimming, is also a student at UC Berkeley’s Haas Business school, yet he still finds time to be an advocate of social justice. As he returns back to the San Francisco Bay Area from London, Gydesen will continue to send letters using the Slavery Footprint Action Center.
As elite athletes, both Sara and Mathias have not only taken a stand against slavery, but have used their passion of sport to raise their voice. This Olympic games, let’s continue to remember that global unity goes far beyond a single event. In the words of a Isakovic: “Olympic athletes could definitely spread the word because we are the ambassadors of our countries, people look up to us, listen to us and respect our opinion… if we took action, many people around the world would follow”. Let’s all take action. Together we can change the world.