Two weeks after the end of the Olympics, the Paralympic Games in Beijing opened on Friday. An edition marked by the Russian military operation in Ukraine, underway since last Thursday. Due to these events, Russian and Belarusian paraathletes were eventually excluded from the Paralympic Games. Impacted by this war in Ukraine, the sports world is mobilizing through a forum by the Peace and Sport collective, published this Friday, to call for peace between Russia and Ukraine. « It is very important to call for unity, dialogue and peace, and above all to demonstrate the commitment of sport, the solidarity of athletes in all countries », assures Marlène Harnois, Olympic medalist in taekwondo, who co-signed this forum with 89 other athletes.
White cards to call for peace
Referring to a « regrettable » situation for Ukrainian and Russian athletes, Marlène Harnois explains in South Europe that this mobilization for peace can be translated into a symbolic gesture: « At first, we have a white card that we raise as a symbol of peace, in opposition to the red and yellow cards that we can see in the sports world . » From this weekend, white cards could therefore be waved in the stands.
This mobilization already exists. « Last year, it affected more than 500 million people around the world, » recalls Marlène Harnois, also a Knight of the National Order of Merit. « We want to demonstrate the unifying power of sport », continues the Olympic medalist, « the impact that champions can have in promoting this message of peace ».
Mobilization on social networks
The 90 co-signed athletes on the platform also call on all sports fans, and beyond, « to mobilize on social networks, by posting a photo of them with their white cards with the hashtag #WildCard ». The collective also encourages amateur athletes to hold up a card at the start of a match, in the locker room before a match, and to share it on the web.