Swiss skier Yule pledges prize money to fight climate change
GENEVA (AP) — Hitting back at the president of his sport’s governing body, Swiss skier Daniel Yule will give his prize money this month to an athlete-backed charity campaigning against climate change.
The Olympic gold medalist said Monday he is “putting my money where my mouth is” after criticizing International Ski Federation president Gian Franco Kasper at the world championships last month.
Kasper’s comments about “so-called climate change” in a Swiss newspaper interview prompted Colorado-based non-profit Protect Our Winters to urge him to resign .
Yule, a slalom specialist, made his pledge in an Instagram post ahead of World Cup races on the next two Sundays.
“After the FIS president denied climate change during the last World Championships, I’ve decided to donate half of the prize money I earn at the last two world cup races in Kransjka Gora and Andorra to @protectourwintersswitzerland,” he wrote.
Both slalom races offer 45,000 Swiss francs ($45,000) for winning, with prize money paid for the top 30 placings down to 500 Swiss francs ($500) for 30th.
Yule has earned almost 90,000 Swiss francs ($90,000) in prize money this season, including his first World Cup win in December in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
The 26-year-old skier, whose parents are British, also helped Switzerland win gold in the team event at the worlds in Are, Sweden. The Swiss also won team gold at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Yule’s pledge was quickly liked on Instagram by Olympic slalom champion Andre Myhrer of Sweden, who wrote “That’s amazing” with a thumbs up emoji.
In interviews during the world championships, Yule said he was disappointed with Kasper’s newspaper comments, which the long-time FIS leader later said were not meant to be taken literally.
“FIS fully supports Daniel Yule’s decision ... to help create increased awareness about the importance of sustainability,” said skiing’s governing body, which has previously worked with Protect Our Winters on an awareness campaign for children.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety also used social media last month to challenge Kasper’s views on climate change.
“Time for leadership that is in touch with reality and forward thinking,” the American racer wrote on Twitter .
Kasper was an International Olympic Committee member for 18 years and sat on its executive board until last year when both positions lapsed for age reasons. He is now an honorary IOC member.
The 74-year-old former journalist remains president of the Association of International Winter Sport Federations, and a member of the IOC panel overseeing planning for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.