P&G champions LGBTQ+ athletes at Tokyo 2020

Worldwide Olympic Partner P&G has been continuing to promote equality and inclusion as part of its activations around the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, holding a virtual panel discussion on the importance of equal representation in sport.

P&G champions LGBTQ+ athletes at Tokyo 2020 P&G

Joining the panel on 26 July were Gus Kenworthy, the Olympic medal-winning freestyle skier; Abby Dunkin, a Paralympic medal-winning wheelchair basketball player; Hudson Taylor, founder of LGBTQ+ advocacy group Athlete Ally; and Brent Miller, Senior Director and Global LGBTQ+ Equality Programme Leader at P&G.

For Kenworthy, LGBTQ+ athletes can give a powerful sense of visibility to the wider LGBTQ+ community when they compete at the Olympic Games.

“For kids, sport is something that teaches you teamwork and leadership skills, and gives you a sense of community, and it really should be for everyone. But when you’re queer, sometimes it feels like [sport] is not made for you,” he explains.

“For so much of my career, I thought my story was going to be something that only existed after my [sports] career was over. But when I came out, I knew that there must be someone else in skiing, in sports, or another kid who is going to resonate with my story – and if I can even help that one person then it will be worth it. The response was amazing, and I’ve been receiving letters pretty consistently for years and years now, so I feel I’ve definitely done that.”

Gus Kenworthy P&G

P&G helped amplify Kenworthy’s story ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and has partnered with more LGBTQ+ athletes for Tokyo 2020, including British diver Tom Daley, the newly crowned Olympic synchronised 10m platform champion (with Matty Lee) who starred in P&G’s “Good Is Gold” series in the run-up to the Games.

“I feel incredibly proud to say that I’m a gay man and also an Olympic champion,” said Daley after clinching gold. “I feel very empowered by that."

According to Brent, the impact that athletes like Daley can have when they speak about inclusion and equal representation should not be underestimated.

“For these athletes to be so open, honest and authentically who they are, they’re treading a path that is having a profound impact on people’s lives all around the world,” he said.

“P&G has been a part of the Olympic Games and a partner of the IOC for a very long time, and we do that because of what we think sport and the Olympics stand for. It’s about bringing people together, supporting people, creating mutual understanding, and really celebrating all of humanity.

“And now, for us, bringing those LGBTQ+ stories forward is critically important, because we see the value of what this work can bring. For young LGBTQ+ people, the values of sport and all it represents are critical to helping people develop strong self-esteem, to developing confidence, and to helping people step forward as their authentic selves.”

The Good Is Gold series is part of P&G’s wider #LeadWithLove campaign that celebrates athletes and their inspiring acts of good, and builds on the pledge to take action to make progress in the key areas of equality and inclusion, environmental sustainability and community impact, as part of the citizen-driven partnership with the IOC through to 2028.

Inspired by athletes doing good in the world, P&G is also taking action to encourage even more positive change through the Athletes for Good Fund. Working with the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), P&G awarded more than USD 500,000 in grants to 52 athletes in the build-up to Tokyo 2020, supporting their efforts to make positive contributions in areas such as equality and inclusion, environmental sustainability and community impact.

In addition, P&G is using the global stage provided by the Olympic Games to promote environmental sustainability with the Podium Project. In partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the IOC, the Olympic medal podiums for Tokyo 2020 have been created from recycled plastic contributed by the public and recovered from the oceans.

By engaging the public in the campaign, through collections in schools, offices and beyond, P&G aimed to use the Podium Project as a catalyst to inspire actions that have a positive impact on the environment and society.

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