To say Seyi (pronounced “SHAY”) Smith is multi-talented is an understatement.
Smith was part of Canada’s 4x100m relay team at the 2012 London Olympics that finished in the bronze medal position behind Jamaica and the United States, only to be later disqualified for a lane violation. In 2017, the native of Nigeria made a most unusual switch, moving to the bobsled. One year later, Smith competed in the 4-man bobsled at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, finishing a respectable sixth.
For many, being an Olympian in two different sports would be the pinnacle. For Smith, who has a Masters in Renewable Energy Technologies and works as an electrical engineer, it was just the beginning. He soon launched Racing to Zero YYC, an initiative to bring sustainability to grassroots track meets in Calgary (YYC is the airport code for the city)
“Racing to Zero is a merger of my two passions, sport and sustainability,” shared Smith. “I saw that large sporting events are taking significant steps to be more sustainable. Conversely, sustainability was not a part of grass roots level sports. This led me to the project. The overall goal is to have an impact no matter how incremental. Whether it is awareness, process improvements, or a complete re-design of grass roots hosting – my hope is that I’m able to do ‘something’ in the fight against climate change.”
That desire to make a difference in the climate change fight is also why Smith has become the newest EcoAthletes Champion.
“My time in sport has taught me that being surrounded by a great team is a recipe for success,” Smith related. “Learning from other athletes and using their best practices was a big incentive to join. I look forward to growing the Champions network, and inspiring fans to act on climate. EcoAthletes will help me make measurable, positive changes in my community and others.
Founder Lew Blaustein sees Smith’s versatility as an important asset for EcoAthletes.
“Seyi brings so much to the table,” Blaustein marveled. “An Olympian’s ability to overcome obstacles, the analytical mind of an engineer, and a pied piper’s ability to motivate people to mobilize for climate action. We can’t wait to see what he brings to EcoAthletes.
Photo at top: Seyi Smith and his 4×100 teammates after finishing the Olympic final at London 2012 (Photo credit: Reuters)