PtG Article 05.03.2012

Athletes protest against Dow Chemical’s Olympic sponsorship

A long line of former and current Olympic athletes have joined forces to protest against Dow Chemical as an Olympic sponsor.

The campaign ‘Athletes Against Dow Chemical’s Olympic Sponsorship’ argues that the selection of Dow Chemical as sponsor is a direct contradiction to the Olympic values and Olympic Charter.

In an open letter, Athletes Against Dow Chemical’s Olympic Sponsorship presents a long list of Dow Chemical’s many health violations, such as being “named the second worst polluter by the American Environmental Protection Agency for emissions of toxic substances for 2010.”

This, they argue, is a direct contradiction to the Olympic Charter’s pledge to “encourage and support measures protecting the health of athletes.”

The decision to choose Dow Chemical as an Olympic sponsor means that athletes are now directly linked with a company that does not respect the aims of Olympism, the letter argues, and the objective of the campaign is therefore to create awareness among other athletes and to correct the IOC’s conviction that no one has any objections to Dow Chemical’s sponsorship. 

The athletes behind the initiative feel that the Olympic Charter and the Code of Ethics, which all competitors and coaches must comply with in order to be eligible to compete in the Olympics, should also be applicable to all Olympic sponsors:

“Either the IOC declares the Code of Ethics and Olympic Charter void for everyone, or it decides to apply it to all participants, including sponsors. Having double standards is not what the Olympics is about, or so we would hope.”

Also the Indian Olympic Committee and the Indian government has asked the IOC to drop Dow Chemical as sponsor, as the company since 2001 has been the owner of Union Carbide that was responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands of workers in Bhopal, India. The IOC has so far rejected all claims to remove Dow Chemical from the list of Olympic sponsors. 

Athletes Against Dow Chemical’s Olympic Sponsorship’s websiteOpen letter from Athletes Against Dow Chemical’s Olympic Sponsorship The athletes behind the campaignAthletes Against Dow Chemical’s Olympic Sponsorship on Facebook