“It Takes Courage and Confidence.”

Das Bild zeigt die Expert*innen des ersten Olympia-Talks im Gespräch. Zu sehen sind die Moderatorin Anke Feller, Philip Erbers, Thea-Helene Gieroska, Prof. Dr. Ralf Roth und Stefan Wagner.

There was one thing that became abundantly clear during yesterday’s expert talk on the issue of “Environmental Sustainability”: We have a shared responsibility when it comes to ensuring a sustainable future – both in sports as well as in society as a whole.

Frankfurt, 11 August 2023 – The first expert talk in the context of the “YOUR IDEAS. YOUR GAMES.” dialog initiative organized by the German Olympic Sports Confederation brought experts from the field of sustainability together yesterday to discuss the role of sports as a driver of sustainable development.

The members of the panel, which included participants from the worlds of sports, science, and politics, all agreed that sustainability in sports should be considered from the perspective of society as a whole. In order for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in a way that is as climate-friendly as possible in the future, clear ground rules and a common vision of the future are necessities.

The most succinct statements made by the experts were as follows:

Philip Erbers, CHIO Aachen:

“Sports have both the ability and the responsibility to serve as role models for sustainability.”

“Sustainability must be verifiable and measurable. We have to be able to show the measures we have taken and what we have achieved as a result.”

“When it comes to sustainability, we need to have an overall societal goal that we are working towards. It’s not enough to simply say we’re going to make the Games more sustainable than ever. We need to be specific about what we intend to do differently.”

Thea-Helene Gieroska, Spokeswoman for the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft (BAG) Sportpolitik of BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN:

 “I firmly believe that the Olympic Games can be held in a climate-friendly environment.”

“I fully support the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Germany. Everything required is in place in Germany. We can’t always point the finger at others and accuse them of doing a bad job: We simply have to do things better.”

University Professor Dr. Ralf Roth, German Sports University Cologne:

“Sports have the transformative power to facilitate societal change. When we all work together, they can be drivers and engines of change.”

“What we actually need is an 18th SDG, which basically amounts to courage and confidence.”

“The Olympic Games are not events dedicated to sustainability and conservation. While minimizing the negative impact is a necessity, we also have a concurrent opportunity to positively impact society via the power of the Olympics.”

“Sustainability is a process in and of itself – even more so, it is our responsibility to respect the limits of our planet. There is no such thing as THE sustainable Games. Instead, it is up to each individual to define what goals he or she wants to achieve and how.”

Marion Schöne, Managing Director Olympiapark München GmbH:

“Being courageous and developing and implementing concepts together is key – similar to what was done during the sustainable Olympic Games in 1972.”

“If we want to host the Winter Games and ensure freshly fallen snow, we can kiss the Winter Olympics goodbye.”

Stefan Wagner, 1st Chairman of Sports for Future

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games can be trailblazers for the kind of transformation that we desperately need as a society.”

“It’s not about making something that is bad slightly less bad. Rather, the role of sports is to eliminate the fear of change and to demonstrate that things can be done differently.”

“When we look at sports in the context of sustainability, I think it’s much more about leaving our mark and asking the question: What can we do to spark social change?”

The entire “YOUR PLANET. YOUR CLIMATE. YOUR GAMES” talk can be streamed at: https://deine-spiele.de/deine-ideen/fachtalks/


The series of expert talks will continue at 7:00 PM next Tuesday, 15 August. Competitive sports will be the issue of the day. Guests will include:

• Josef Buchner – Sports Director Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined

• Emma Malewski – Gymnast on the Road to Paris

• Marion Peters – Para Athletics National Coach

• Ronald Rauhe – Two-time Olympic Champion, Canoe Racing

• Miriam Welte – DOSB Vice President, Olympic Champion, Track Cycling