Christian Taylor: Olympic champion criticises World Athletics
Association is also calls for a change in the rules to allow them to peacefully protest against social injustices
By Geraint Hughes
Last Updated: 17/07/20 2:52pm
Olympic champion Christian Taylor has told Sky Sports News a "lack of dialogue and information" from World Athletics led him to form the Athletics Association.
Taylor, a two-time Olympic and four-time world triple jump champion, has become the inaugural president of the Athletics Association, with its core aim to achieve greater representation for athletes.
This includes having more say in race scheduling, better welfare and wellness programmes, ensuring athletes are not leaving the sport penniless and exploring better career opportunities for life after athletics.
Taylor believes athletes are not at the heart of decision making from the sport's governing body.
"Seb Coe said that athletes were the centre of the sport," he told Sky Sports News. "What does that look like? Is it real? Who is not doing their job? The World Athletics Athlete Commission, it's lack of dialogue and information. Whatever information they get they are not passing it on.
"Often so much of what is needed is common sense, but common sense isn't around that much."
Taylor is one of the world's great track and field athletes, dominating his sport for a decade, but he is also aware of his role as a prominent black sportsman.
"I'm too late doing this, I should have done it years ago. I apologise," he said. "There must be more to my legacy, yes it's good I jump and compete, but what can I do to change things and to be remembered?
"If the structures are not in place for an individual of colour it is clearly difficult. There isn't enough representation of black people, but also there's a gender issue as well. That looked as if it was being addressed, but it comes in waves, it needs to continue.
"What I do not want is support groups! I want to be with organisations who will and want to change."
Taylor also revealed he sought counselling in the wake of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis.
"I was shaken to the core. I had to get some counselling to work it all out," he said. "Whenever I switched on the news it was the pandemic, then another murder. Then the postponement of the Olympics which I had put a lot of eggs in that basket.
"It was too much, I hadn't seen my parents or fiancé for ages [so] it was the last straw and I was alone.
"How have we got so far away from loving one another? I'm praying that this [Black Lives Matter movement] is an event we will never forget. The wave that changed history, that we never go back."
The Athletics Association, whose board members also include Team GB heptathlete, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and sprinter Adam Gemili, is also calling for a change in the rules to allow them to peacefully protest against social injustices in the world at the next year's Olympic Games.
"We call on the IOC to make changes to the Rule ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games that are due to take place in 2021." the Association told Sky Sports News.
"We also call on National Olympic Committees around the world to support the athletes that represent their countries on the world's biggest sporting stage, by guaranteeing that any athlete that peacefully protests in the spirit of Olympism will face no sanctions or punishment".
In response, the International Olympic Committee said: "The IOC Athletes' Commission has already launched a dialogue with the athletes' representatives of the world. The aim of this dialogue is to explore different ways of how Olympic athletes can express their support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter, including at the time of the Olympic Games, whilst respecting the Olympic spirit.
"As you know, athletes have already had the opportunity to express their opinions at the Olympic Games during press conferences and interviews, at team meetings, on digital or traditional media, or on other platforms. The IOC Athletes' Commission initiative is supported by the IOC Executive Board, and the IOC will not intervene in this discussion".