UK Athletes Making A Stand Beyond Their Sport
There has never been a better time for an elite athlete to build a strong personal brand rooted in a purpose that matters to them. Those athletes who use their powerful voice & influential platform to positively impact society at large will build a personal brand that attracts loyal, passionate fans & more valuable commercial opportunities.
As South Africa’s 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kilosi said at a recent Awards evening in South Africa, “We may break all the records and lift all the trophies and medals, but someone else will come and do the same after us. if we don’t use our influence to make an impact now, we will be forgotten. The lives that we touch and change will last forever.”
There are an increasing number of inspiring stories about athletes impacting their nation through sport & community. The Athlete Media Group are privileged to know many elite athletes and experts who are champions of such purpose and we are proud to support their causes. This trend of athletes using their powerful sporting platforms as a force for societal good is growing fast and will become a defining ‘off-pitch’ trend in sport in the next decade.
We’ve taken a look at the very best purpose-driven athletes making a positive difference beyond their sport.
Crista Cullen MBE, former Team GB Hockey – Conservation
Crista Cullen MBE is an accomplished athlete, winning both Rio 2016 Gold and London 2012 Bronze medals in three consecutive Olympic appearances. In her illustrious career she won 197 international caps and was a three time World All-Star team member.
She is also an avid conservationist and founder of the brilliant Tofauti Foundation that protects ecosystems, environments, people and wildlife in Africa. Team Tofauti believe working with local people is the only way to help humans and animals to co-exist and thrive together. As the human population in Africa grows at pace, their demand for land is constantly increasing – land for dwellings, subsistence farming and livestock grazing. This means the wild animals who have roamed the land for generations are being forced to compete for spaces they are used to calling their own. Crista is passionate about making a difference and has delivered numerous successful projects across East Africa with many more in the pipeline. Visit www.tofauti.org to read more about the tremendous difference Tofauti is making.
Duncan Slater, Adventurer & Ultra Runner – Wounded Military Veterans
Stacey Copeland, Professional Boxer – Gender Stereotypes
Stacey Copeland is an ex-professional England footballer turned professional boxer. As a footballer she represented England U18s, played in an FA Cup Final and has also played abroad in America and Sweden. As an amateur boxer Stacey won a European silver medal and has now turned professional, winning the Commonwealth title in 2018, the first GB female to do so. She is also part of the only father/daughter combo to both win national boxing titles.
In 2017, Stacey set up the ‘Pave the Way’ project in partnership with Greater Sport Manchester and Parrs Wood High School. Since then the project has grown and is now under application with the charity commission to become a registered charity, the decision should be received by early 2020. Pave The Way aims to create a world where gender is never a barrier to human potential, challenging gender stereotypes for boys, girls, men and women and working to spark a social change in attitudes so that everyone can be free to pursue their passions regardless of gender. Stacey won the 2017 Sky Sports Woman of the Year Award and in 2018 was nominated for the Sunday Times Sports Woman of the Year in the Grassroots category. To read more about Pave The Way and Stacey’s drive for change visit www.stacey-copeland.com.
Pen Hadow, Explorer – Ocean Conservation
Pen’s 90North campaign aims to create the world’s largest wildlife reserve for the international waters surrounding the North Pole. The reserve will become the refuge-of-last-resort, arefugium for the region’s existing wildlife and the rising number of species heading north to these, the planet’s coolest waters in an attempt to survive global ocean warming. The reserve’s science-only status, excepting military submarines, will prevent vessel-based commercial and exploitative activities from adding even more stresses on the region’s unique and super-vulnerable ecosystem. To learn more about 90 North visit www.penhadow.com
Hannah Mills MBE, British Sailing – Sustainability
Hannah Mills, MBE is a British sailor and 2 time world champion in the Women’s 470 class, having won in 2012 and 2019. Mills won a silver medal for Team GB with her crew Saskia Clark in the 2012 Olympics, and won Gold in the same event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is aiming for Gold in Tokyo in 2020 with her new partner Eilidh McIntyre.
Her passion and expertise for sailing from a young age has seen her develop a deep understanding of the devastating impact plastic is having on the world’s oceans. As a passionate advocate for clean oceans she founded Big Plastic Pledge in 2019. By harnessing and unifying communities through the power and reach of sport, through the athletes, events, fans, volunteers and brands, she aims to make a lasting impact and has early endorsement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Big Plastic Pledge is a movement within sport that aims to grow into something un-stoppable when it comes to achieving its goals. As athletes and fans united, they are a group determined, passionate and driven to achieve. Visit www.bigplasticpledge.com to make your pledge and help protect the planet from plastic waste.
Si Ledwith, England Visually Impaired Cricket & Rugby – Safer Streets
Born blind in his left eye, childhood was turbulent for Si at times, but one passion always shone throughout – sport. Aged 14, he was scouted by the England Visually Impaired (VI) cricket team and went onto win three Ashes series before injury forced him to retire. Luckily Si recovered to continue his career; although his cricketing ability is unquestionable, a passion for rugby always stood out. Working with his former cricket coach, he helped launch the VI England rugby team and had the honour of scoring the first try in the inaugural tournament.
However, life wasn’t always plane sailing. During his time living in Brighton, Si became distracted in off the field issues which led to him being involved in organised crime. Coming through the other side, he went on to work successfully with global recognised charity, The Change Foundation, to help get people out of violent gangs, off the streets and into sport and employment. He is proud to have helped many young men and women find jobs away from the streets. To learn more about the work of The Change Foundation visit www.thechangefoundation.org.uk
Sally Orange, Ultra Runner – Mental Health & Healthy Eating
Sally Orange is a force of nature. Her CV suggests so! Physio, Inspirational Speaker, Endurance Athlete, 7 World Records, Invictus Games Medallist, 49 Marathons, 7 Ironmans. After serving in the military as a physiotherapist, she turned her attention to raising money for wounded army veterans through the charity ‘Walking with the Wounded’ as well as raising awareness and ending the stigma surrounding mental health.
After completing the London marathon in 2007 dressed as a orange, Sally has gone on to complete a further 49 marathons/ultra-marathons, with seven completed dressed as a piece of fruit (including one in Afghanistan dressed as a banana.). She is also the 2007 Guinness World Record holder for Fastest Marathon dressed as a Superhero (Supergirl), 2009 Guinness World Record holder for Fastest Marathon dressed as a piece of Fruit (Orange) and the 2019 Guinness World Record for the Fastest Marathon dressed as a nut!
Sally looks to use her participation on marathon and ultra running to inspire others into participating in sport. She has also taken to applying her talents to mentoring, educating and organising, bringing inspiration to a variety of audiences including a series of events aimed at children. These interactive workshops promote health and well-being through physical activity and healthy eating, dispelling myths on mental health and engendering confidence, by telling her own story with honesty, humility and humour.
Follow Sally’s amazing adventures at www.instagram.com/sally0range.
Kiko Matthews, Adventurer, World Record Holder – Sustainability
Kiko Matthews is a world record British adventurer and environmentalist. On 22 March 2018, she became the fastest female to row the Atlantic, solo and unsupported. Matthews rowed the 3284 miles from La Gomera to Port St. Charles, Barbados in 49 days 7 hours and 15 minutes.
In May 2019 she set off on her bike to cycle the coast of the UK and part of Ireland in a project called #Kikplastic. She was joined by volunteer riders from companies including Rathbones and bike specialists, Pinarello nd many more. On most evenings of the challenge she completed a local beach clean. Her focus for this project wasn’t to be the fastest, but to raise awareness of the problem of single-use plastic and engage communities to help tackle it. By the time she finished back in London on the 28th July Kikplastic had cleared 3.45 tonnes of waste and engaged just under 2,000 volunteers. Kiko aims to repeat Kikplastic across Europe’s beaches in the summer fo 2020. Visit www.kikomatthews.co.uk/kik-plastic to learn more about her determination to change the world for the better.
Charlie Martin, Racing Driver – Diversity & Inclusion
If you want to work with any of these champions of purpose (as inspiring speakers, in advertising, with content creation, as brand ambassadors & more) please email email@example.com or call 07952 304340.