Go Green Like an Olympic Athelete!

by Lauren Verini

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that we are right in the middle of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Anyone who is anyone has caught at least one event by now, even those who aren’t sport enthusiasts. We’ve recently examined how the London Olympics is taking strides to be the greenest games yet, but we wanted to take a closer look at the athletes themselves and how they are going green. Olympic athletes train for years for the Olympics and dedicate hours on end to training for what may be the most important event of their lives, but many still manage to find the time go green setting a good example for the rest of us that it really can be done. There are many reasons to look up to these athletic men and women, and being green is just one more reason to add to the list.

Many of the U.S. Olympic athletes already live a green lifestyle. For instance Mariel Zagunis, fencing extraordinaire, volunteers with SOLVE (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) a non-profit focused on beach cleanups, planting trees and other environmental projects and weight lifter Sarah Robles is involved with California’s recycling program, CalRecycle. Swimmer Natalie Coughlin keeps her own organic vegetable garden and compost and triathlete Gwen Jorgensen sports a Hondo Insight Hybrid, but prefers to cycle as her main mode of transportation whenever possible.

Image Courtey of Maureen Barlin Flickr/cc license

Whether or not they live a green lifestyle at home, all 17,000 of the Olympic athletes staying at the eco-friendly Olympic Village will get the chance to go green. The Olympic Village is the first building of its size to meet London’s Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, which means the building as 44% reduced carbon emissions, 30% reduced water usage and features 10,000 square meters of green roofing. It’s also conveniently located in the Olympic Park and in walking distance to the venues, reducing the need for transportation and therefore reducing carbon emissions. After the Olympic Games, the Olympic Village will be converted into the largest eco-friendly housing development of its size in England, creating 2,818 new homes in what will be called the East Village.

When the athletes aren’t sleeping, practicing or competing in the events, they have the chance to visit One Planet Centre located in the Olympic Park where they can brush up on important green issues through a series of activities and contests. The athletes will not only learn about simple ways to go green such as reducing energy usage and waste, but will also get to write their sustainability pledges on the centre walls and receive a special sustainability pin in recognition of their pledge. The goal is to continue the London Olympic Games’ green mission after the Olympics have finished, where the athletes can use their position as role models and leaders to help educate and inspire others from their home country to lead greener lifestyles.

To learn more about the 2012 Olympic Games’ green initiatives, visit www.getset.london2012.com. Don’t forget to tune in on Sunday, August 12 for the closing ceremony!

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