Sport has a tremendous power – and can be a force for considerable change. I feel very strongly that as a professional triathlete my impact and message should be wider than my performance on the race course, and last longer than my athletic career.
Triathlon is unique in that the professional athletes get to compete simultaneously with the amateur athletes. And as much as many athletes are inspired by the accomplishments of the professionals, we too are encouraged and inspired by the amateurs that we get to share the stage with.
Champions come and go, but to me the real judge of my success will be whether I actually do something positive with the opportunities I have been given, and I sincerely hope that, as World Champion, I can be a role model and ambassador for the sport that everyone can be proud of. I will try never to take for granted the opportunities I have to encourage others, to increase participation in triathlon and other sports and to generate more interest and support amongst the media, government and business, both in my home country the UK, but also all around the world.
Equally as important to me, is raising the profile of issues and causes that are dear to my heart. Not everyone will share my views (not would I want them to!), but nevertheless I have a platform on which to stand and it would be remiss of me not to use it. There are thousands of charitable organisations doing wonderful work across the world. Unfortunately I cannot lend my backing to them all, but I would encourage everyone to consider supporting an organisations whose vision, ethos and activities match your own. This support can take a variety of forms, and doesn’t have to mean financial. For example, all the volunteers at races are giving so much more than money, just through their energy, commitment and time. Writing a letter, blogging, sharing ideas with friends, donating unwanted items…all help to support and raise the profile of worthwhile causes.
In terms of my own personal support for individual charities, I would like to make you aware of a few great organisations that I support: