Former Australian Rugby Union captain David Pocock has won the Athlete of the Year award at the BBC’s first ever Green Sport Awards, at a ceremony at Wembley Stadium in London.
The Athlete of the Year Award is for a professional sportsperson who has advocated for, raised awareness of, or instigated action on environmental and/or climate change issues in the past 12 months.
It was awarded to David Pocock for his work leading the ‘The Cool Down’ initiative that resulted in over 300 athletes writing an open letter to the Australian government encouraging for bolder climate action. Pocock also recently made history to become the first independent senator for an Australian capital territory, and is uniquely the first sportsperson to transition into politics on a environmentally focussed platform.
David Pocock said: “On climate change, I’d probably say to people get involved. Rather than getting cynical and checking out, get involved, find people in your school, in your neighbourhood who are interested in doing something. Act locally, but then also push your local politicians and your national politicians to get going. We don’t have any time to waste and I think it’s really exciting what we can actually build together.”
The winner was selected from by a judging panel, from a shortlist produced internally within the BBC.
Ed Leigh, a judge for the Athlete of the Year Award said: “It is clear that David Pocock’s environmental convictions form the core of who he is. His actions show that he is willing sacrifice his sporting legacy in order to raise awareness of climate change. He was for me, by far the most inspirational candidate who fearlessly used his sporting profile to further the environmental agenda.”
The Green Sport Awards are part of the BBC’s commitment to a greener future and are designed to use the power and passion of sport for a positive effect. Working with Sport Positive Summit, the awards celebrate individuals and organisations from across the globe who are actively contributing to a more sustainable future through their sporting profile and practices.
The other winners of the BBC Green Sport Awards 2022 include:
Teamwork Award – Jadir Taekwondo Association
Ambition & Impact Award – Sail GP
Young Athlete of the Year – Norwegian Footballer Morten Thorsby
Evergreen Athlete 2022 – US former racing driver Leilani Münter (awarded earlier this year)
‘BBC Green Sport Awards’ will air on BBC World News on Saturday 8th October at 01:30 and 08:30 and on Sunday 9th October at 14:30 and 20:30 (all times GMT) and will be available to watch on BBC.com/Sport from Wednesday 5th October. each month. BBC World News, the BBC’s commercial TV news channel, is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
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