Promote animal adoption, spaying, neutering and overall animal rights awareness. The campaign was conceived by Tony Azevedo, former Captain of the USA Olympic Water Polo team & 5-Time Olympian & Silver Medalist, and Andrea Mead Cross, former USA swimmer/triathlete, nationally recognized sports photographer, and strong animal advocate.
Tony became an animal advocate after witnessing first-hand how cities hosting the Olympics try to “clean up” quickly. This often involves mass extermination of stray animals in very inhumane ways. Tony partnered with Andrea on Sports Souls – a book that features photographs and short interviews with professional athletes. All proceeds from the book benefit animal charities. For the 2016 Olympic campaign, Tony and Andrea recruited a group of top athletes. The group worked to promote a message of empathy towards animals, particularly among youth who view athletes as role models.
In Brazil, the campaign was supported and implemented by the Luisa Mell Foundation. Luisa Mell, a former model and TV personality, is one of the country’s top animal advocates. With help from her large social media following, she has lobbied to change laws in Brazil that have significantly improved animal rights. She recently opened her own institution that focuses on rescue work, political activism, and social campaigns.
The campaign features strong and powerful images of athletes in a ‘high fashion’ black and white design. The simple tagline “Athletes with Soul” aims to highlight the importance of adoption, spaying and neutering. The campaign was promoted via each athlete’s social media, and by other organizations and online outlets.
Tony Azevedo, water polo, 5X Olympian & Silver Medalist
Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball, 3X Olympic Gold Medalist
Oksana Masters, paraolympic cross country skier, rower & cyclist, Bronze Medalist
John Mann, water polo, Olympian
Georgina Bloomberg, equestrian & philanthropist, Olympic hopeful
Kendyl Stewart, swimming, Olympic hopeful
Lindsey Jacobellis, snowboard, Olympic Silver Medalist