COVID-19 continues to elevate in variety and mystery with little distinction from the cold or flu. Over the last few months, government entities worldwide have begun to mandate that travelers, workers, and citizens be fully vaccinated with the new and experimental COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots. Due to the fear of COVID-19 being pushed globally, governments now seem to expect total compliance to such mandates.
But because these jabs go into the bodies of human beings, many people are skeptical of the necessity for the COVID shots, and especially the mandates. Those wary of the vaccines who have outright refused them include nurses, doctors, business owners, and professional athletes.
In America, while some athletes are being ostracized for refusing the COVID vaccine, others are fighting to maintain their rights to bodily autonomy. World champions and Olympic medalists Kyle Dake and David Taylor have created a platform for athletes to come together to voice their concerns and advocate for themselves worldwide in their respective sports agencies through their organization called Athletes for Medical Freedom.
Since January 2021, over 200 athletes worldwide have died from COVID-vaccine-related side effects. Many more have been severely injured. These numbers show the grim reality of the lack of safety and effectiveness of these jabs. Yet governments continue to display their disregard for lives, careers, and the bodily autonomy of adults to maintain and establish control through their fearmongering.
The four integral aims of Athletes for Medical Freedom are:
- Informed consent
- Bodily autonomy
- Choice of medical treatment
- Open, honest, and transparent dialogue
At its core, Athletes for Medical Freedom is a way for other athletes to know that they are not alone. “You may be alone in your specific circle,” they say, “But in the grand scheme of things, there’s a lot of other people that believe what you believe.”
Steps You Can Take
Step One: You can help American athletes who are losing their sponsorships for standing up for everyone’s constitutional rights! Donate to Athletes for Medical Freedom, follow them on social media, and help spread their message of unity and strength.
Step Two: Use your voice to tell your governor and local legislators that COVID-19 vaccines must be voluntary! Personal choice, not public pressure or coercion, must be the only factor in getting a vaccine.
The entire interview between Leah Wilson, Kyle Dake, and David Taylor has been transcribed and is available below. You have permission to quote this piece and use it as source material, as long as you use a link to attribute credit to this article.
Full Interview Transcript
Leah Wilson: Hello. I am Leah Wilson, the Executive Director and Co-founder of Stand for Health Freedom. Stand for Health Freedom is a diverse movement of people. We are growing and we are standing for one thing in common, and that is that we believe individuals should be the ones to make decisions for their own bodies and for the health of their children.
We currently have almost a half-million people taking action on our platform, and using the tools that we have given them to exercise their voice on these important issues.
I have with me here two of our best athletes in the world who have taken a leap to organize and give athletes a space to say that they also stand for medical freedom and want to see people be able to make their own medical decisions.
So I want to welcome Kyle Dake. He is a three-time World Champion, Olympic bronze medalist and four-time NCAA Champion. And David Taylor, who is an Olympic Champion, who brought home the gold for the US, World Champion and two-time NCAA Champion.
So these gentlemen have experienced what many of you are experiencing on some level—to either get the jab or lose your pay, to get the job or lose your spot in your community. And they have chosen to respond to that in an effective way.
I was talking to them and received their press release, announcing that they were deciding to create a space for people to come together, and they made it known that there are four key tenets for Athletes for Medical Freedom, and those are 1)bodily autonomy, 2)open, honest, transparent dialogue, 3)choice of medical treatment and 4)informed consent.
So I just want to start off by welcoming you, Kyle and David, and have you all share what do those key tenets mean to you individually, as an athlete, and how are they being threatened currently.
So Kyle, if you want to take us off, we’ll hear from you first.
Kyle Dake: So one of the biggest secrets that’s not really a secret is that I tried to control every single variable that I can. And I go about it by making sure I get nine hours of sleep every night. I’m getting my recovery every single day. I’m eating the right foods. I’m getting outside in the sun. I’m doing massage work, chiropractic care, doing my cross-training with very strong intention of trying to be the best that I could possibly be.
This is no different. My goal here is to continue to do that. And when someone is trying to force me to do something that I don’t believe will help me, it can potentially harm me, that was where I drew the line. I’m like, “I can’t. I can’t do this.”
I have medical conditions that I have to deal with personally. I’ve dealt with a heart issue in 2014, an autoimmune condition, and it just didn’t make sense for me. And when I saw what was happening in Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games was that they were taking away exemptions. Even if you had religious exemption in the US, they weren’t going to honor it at the Olympic Games. And if you had a medical exemption, then IOC in the Beijing Olympic Committee was going to review everything that was in there.
So I had to make sure that I didn’t put myself in a situation where I train for the next three years, and then all of a sudden, it gets taken away from me at the 11th hour.
So I decided there’s no better time than now to try to come together and find like-minded people who wanted to stand up for their rights and realize how valuable bodily autonomy is, how valuable your choice of medicine, what you and your doctor decide, and having an open, honest dialogue. I don’t see that happening. And you don’t see that in the main platforms where you bring in an even playing field for everyone and disseminate information that could be potentially useful.
But yes, those are just a few of the things on my end.
Leah Wilson: Yes, and so coming from someone who values peak performance, who values being the elite of the elite, and has worked your entire life to get where you are, it makes sense that what goes into your body is something you think about. And I think that’s an issue that some of the world is just having served to them for the first time, that they just now are getting the opportunity to think about—do I know what is going into my body, and do I care who says what’s going into my body?
So you all leading the charge makes perfect sense with how in tune you are with your performance and your recovery, and what you do for the entire landscape of athletes.
David, what does it mean to you the key tenets that you all had outlined, and how are those things being threatened currently with your career as a wrestler?
David Taylor: I think Kyle and I have so many similarities in the way we approach our training, our recovery, our profession.
And for me, it really started in 2015. I was at the crossroads in my career, and my body was really banged up. I never knew how to treat it properly. I reached out to Sam Calavitta at The Treigning Lab at that time, and he changed my life in terms of how to treat your body right, and what you can get out of it in terms of dialing in, in every single aspect of training and recovery, and no stone left unturned in how your body is meant to perform well if you treat it well. It’s meant to fight off disease if you treat it well.
The body is an amazing organism and it’s amazing what it feels when you’ve reached that peak pinnacle feeling. It is contagious, and you want to talk about it, you want to share, and you want to tell other people feeling and being health is an amazing thing.
To be able to train my entire life—I started to wrestle since five years, for 25 years, to reach my dream of being an Olympic Champion. And that came with a detailed analysis of everything—a meticulous plan.
And so I think when that is now saying, “Hey, this is a mandated thing. You have to do this.” Well, based on the performances that I have had personally, it’s by questioning things. It’s by doing the research, looking at ingredients.
There’s not a single thing that I pick up out of a store aisle that I don’t look at the back and read every ingredient that’s in it. And if there are specific things that I don’t put in my body, I don’t eat those things. I don’t ingest them. I don’t share them with my family.
So I think in this scenario, it’s a scary stance because it’s against what a lot of people believe. You’re questioning something that is being told it’s the only answer.
And I think we just believe as a group that we just want to have a choice in that. We want a choice in our medical treatment.
And once you’d done your research, and whatever you feel like is the best route to go, then go that route, whatever it may be. So I think that’s where we all have that common interest, and some have other factors. I don’t have a medical condition that would–I just have my belief system of what I want to put into my body and what I feel could help my performance or what could hurt my performance, and my family and I, we had a conversation, and we came to where we are now.
Leah Wilson: We all have so much to learn from you guys with it, in terms of how you’ve mastered what you can ask of your body and what it requires to be able to ask that of your body. It’s amazing to witness.
The thing is, what a lot of people fail to recognize is we ask of our bodies to adapt to our environment daily. When we go out in the world, and we’re exposed, we ourselves are shedding viruses and being exposed to viruses. There is an element of how are we able to adapt to our environment, just like you all are able to adapt on the mat.
What is on the line for each of you right now? We can start with you, Kyle. With your current situation, is there anything being threatened or withheld from you if you don’t comply with the mandate?
Kyle Dake: Yes, so right now, there is a USOPC policy, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee policy, that you must be vaccinated, fully vaccinated.
They don’t give any terms of what that means. They call it a fluid situation, so it’s constantly changing. But if you want to use any facilities that are owned by the USOPC, or if you want to compete in any event that is owned by USOPC–for example, the Olympic Team Trials or go to the Olympic Games, you must be vaccinated or comply with their exemption process.
So when I saw that, I looked into the exemption process and that they were trying to do, and I didn’t get any real clear answers. We’ve had some athletes who have tried to go through that process and get denied. And after seeing that, it really cemented my stance. I was like, okay, is that the path I want to go? Do I want to try to stand up now, so that we do have the right to compete? They don’t test us for hepatitis, they don’t test us for HIV before we go on the mat, and I feel like I’d much rather get COVID than those two things.
But those are some examples. We have a camp coming up in January that we’re not welcome at. We didn’t apply for religious exemption, so we were not even allowed to do the five-day quarantine that we would have to pay for beforehand in order to go to the camp. And then we will have to be tested every single day.
It doesn’t matter how much healthier I am than somebody else. Even if they have proof that they have a little card or something on their phone that says they were vaccinated, they could do it. I understand the premise of it. I understand why they want to do that. They want to make a blanket statement and be able to apply it to everybody, but everybody is a little bit different.
Those are some things that have been taken away. We were facing consequences by not signing the team contract. Fortunately for us, USA Wrestling has been willing to work with us in trying to help us along in this journey. They were able to pay us our bonuses. And then we’re trying to figure out what to do with the monthly stipends that we’ve earned from being world medalists and Olympic Champions.
Leah Wilson: And these are stipends that are owed to you now from medals you’ve brought home that could be on the line?
Kyle Dake: Yes. So we have the contract. I don’t know the specifics of the contract, how many months we’re missing. But really, we don’t have a voice in what gets done, and our goal is to pressure USA Wrestling to stand up for us and say, “Hey, we’re here too and our voices aren’t being heard, and we need you to go to the USOPC. We need you to go and voice our opinion, and how to open an honest dialogue of the best way to battle this illness, and if we don’t do that, then I guess I’m going to be starting early retirement.”
I hope that doesn’t happen because I feel like I have a lot more to give, to represent the country in many more ways, many more times.
Leah Wilson: And David, do you find yourself in a pretty similar situation?
David Taylor: Yes. And again, I think Kyle and I have so many parallels. We both wrestled at the Olympics. In a short period of time later, we wrestled at the World Championships. Part of the perk of being an Olympic medalist in our sport was that you are already on the World Team because it was only seven weeks after the Olympic Games.
Because the World Championships were already on the schedule, the Olympic Games was postponed, so we had a rare opportunity to compete two in the same year—the Olympics and the World Championships.
We were sitting in our room together when the e-mail came through. And I remember Kyle actually was a little more upset than I was at first because I just didn’t see it as a deadline to have a vaccination. I felt like it was coming, but it wasn’t real. And I remember, we were going, we’d just compete and think about it later. We’re like, we might not have a chance to voice our opinion later, so emotionally, we were trying to figure out, “Well, are we going to retire? Is this it? Is the World Championships going to be the last competition? Do we want to sit back and not say anything? Do we voice our opinion?”
So we both wrote e-mails, pretty emotional e-mails, where we put our lives’ work into something.
We’re not employees. We’re independent contractors to the USOC and to the USA Wrestling. Everything that we do in preparation is independent and we represent the United States, but our training isn’t a centralized location. We have our own coaches, we have our own training regimen, we have our own nutritionists that go into our training performance.
We were already at the World Championships. We compete and then assumed everything moving forward, and then all of a sudden, we had this contract that was trying to predate when we had already competed. We didn’t know any of this stuff when we were competing.
So it’s tough. Obviously, these mandates are across all platforms and non-wrestlers. Obviously, not all athletes are faced with these things.
So yes, it’s challenging. We have asked that question to ourselves and with each other many times like, is this it? [I’m] wrestling. I love wrestling. I still feel–I’ve always thought I’d wrestle through the 2024 Olympic cycle. But the question is obviously the training, putting in all that work.
So we just felt like rather than saying nothing and just wishing that maybe it doesn’t happen, and we wanted to do what we can, go to the appropriate channels to just voice our opinion and our concerns, I think collectively as a group, it’s more powerful than just as one person.
Recently, we posted about it, and we’ve had other people reach out to us from different organizations, and other Olympians in other sports that are facing, honestly, much harsher situations than ours. US Wrestling is working with us with the best of their ability. They want us to continue to wrestle, and they want to respect our opinions, which is great. In some sports and some athletes aren’t in that situation.
So we want to be a voice and let them know that they’re not alone. There’s other people that believe what they believe, and hopefully, we can continue to work on ways to get our information out there and hopefully, help speak on their behalf or whatever it may be. It’s much bigger than just putting a social media post out there and saying you’re done. Obviously, this is just the start of something and just really fortunate to be alongside some really strong athletes, and just understanding that it’s not an easy road but it’s really important to us.
Leah Wilson: Yes, there were 15 athletes who signed your press release and said that you’re banding together to form Athletes for Medical Freedom, to invite people into this conversation and develop a model where people can effectively stand up within your arena.
What do you guys hope to achieve through organizing? David, if you want to share with us what you hope to achieve.
David Taylor: I would say, the first thing is just to let other athletes know they’re not the only ones. Kyle and I have been pretty outspoken in our careers about just our health, and how when we made health-conscious decisions, it affected our performance in a positive way. To us, this is just another decision that you make. And no matter what you decide, that’s great, whatever your decision is.
But there are some athletes that were really forced into getting the vaccine because they were told they will not get COVID if they get it, it’s a competitive advantage to get your vaccine because you don’t have to contact trace, and you don’t have to test anymore. But as we can see right now, in the major sports organizations—the NFL, the NHL, the NBA, everybody’s getting COVID.
Everyone is going to get COVID whether you’re vaccinated or unvaccinated. And some people were told, you have to get vaccinated for all these reasons, and they don’t want to get the next shot, they don’t want to get the next booster, or they are unsure and just say, is it okay to ask questions? And we’re going to figure out what’s next together. But you’re not alone. And I think that’s probably one of the main things that I feel.
I’m not a doctor. I’m not a cardiologist. I’m not a professional in those realms, so I’m just trying to gather as much information from people who are professionals in those realms, and then try to do my best to make educated decisions on what’s next.
Leah Wilson: Yes, and it’s amazing. I feel like we’re seeing an unprecedented amount of spontaneous injury on the field or on the mat or on the court lately, and I wonder if the athletes are being given the permission to draw the parallels between the experimental mass vaccination program and the amount of heart issues and strokes and seizures that we’re seeing, especially in those that require a lot of their body. Because of course, it would manifest in different ways for people who are actually expanding their lung capacity, and using their heart muscle to the nth degree than it would the grocer or the person who sits at a desk all day.
So what are you all seeing in terms of people coming to you and asking, “What can we do about this together?” Are you seeing that people want to–we’re going to cut this. I’m going to cut that part.
Yes, it’s great that Athletes for Medical Freedom is organizing because organizing is one of the most powerful things that we can do to continue to encourage others. We see the whirlwind of opinions that have come from the CDC, from our local health departments, from different agencies over the past two years. And now, even from the courts, we saw a few great court opinions come out against federal mandates. And now, last week, we saw a not-so-good court opinion reinstating federal mandates.
So the powerful thing about organizing is saying, “All right, there’s a subset of people who have held out for this long and stayed firm in bodily autonomy. And together, we can continue to stay firm instead of feeling alone and giving into that pressure.”
So when you look at yourself as an organization, Athletes for Medical Freedom, it takes a group in order to influence on different spheres, instead of–the target is not clear here is where I’m going with this.
So if you look at, for example, the NCAA. When they put out their policies, they said that the current vaccination policies were formed with the collaboration of the Medical Advisory Group of the NCAA, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the Autonomy 5 Medical Advisory Group.
So there’s all these different groups that are included in this decision-making. And so a lone athlete has a huge hill to climb in trying to influence that. But when we come together as a group, we can achieve more, we can show our strength in numbers, and we can show that non-compliance is a real thing.
So who do you, gentlemen, see as your target audience, as you’re educating, and your target audience when you’re trying to influence policies going forward? Kyle?
Kyle Dake: I think a large number of our target audience is just athletes because they hold a lot of the power. They hold a lot of the clout on social media. These athletes who are coming forward to us now, they’re like, “Wow, I’m glad you guys are doing this. How can I help? What can I do?”
Right now, our answer is just tell your story. And we’re giving you a place to tell your story and to come out and not feel like you are alone, and be a shield for a lot of the hate that some people will be feeling.
I know that a lot of people feel guilty or shameful because they’re like, “This doesn’t feel right. I feel like there are other things that I can do. There are other treatments that I can. There are other ways I could be freakishly healthy. And I can do those things that other people aren’t willing to do,” and even some people are willing to do. But they don’t really know what that means. They don’t know what other treatments are available. And we’re just here to educate athletes whether they be senior athletes, or whether they be high school athletes, young kids.
I have two kids. I have two daughters and another one on the way, and I want to be able to say, “Yes, I tried, and I did something, and I made a huge impact. And I was able to bring people together in order to fight this.”
That’s something that I’m going to be very proud of. Even if this doesn’t go any further, which I know it will, I can be proud and look at my kids and say, “Hey, I did something. I didn’t stand by and comply.” And that’s the message I really want to give my kids too.
Ultimately, we need the IOC to listen to us. We need US lawmakers listen to us. We need moms and dads to listen to us and to hear our voice and be like, “So it’s not just this one subset of people who are making all the choices. There’s other group here. What are they saying? They seem to be really good at what they’re doing. Okay, why are they so good at it? [Why don’t I] listen to this group of doctors who got them to where they were? What are they saying?”
So I feel like the information flow, it needs to open up a bit, and once it does, I feel like people will be able to make an informed choice, and they will have informed consent to do any medical procedures that they decide is necessary for themselves.
And lastly, we’re trying to get, from a personal perspective, UWW, United World Wrestling, to not mandate any vaccines to compete in the World Championships.
Leah Wilson: That’s great. And I know that what you all do and achieve with influencing the United World Wrestling can be used as a template and a structure for athletes across all disciplines to use, and that’s super exciting.
I think you’re exactly right when you talk about the opening up the flow of information and demonstrating other options to people across the nation and across the world because censorship is what allows things like this to happen.
And so as we share our stories and we use our voices, and get these messages out to our audiences and to our friends, those of you who are listening, to share this message with as many people are possible, so that the information is not stuck.
And so Athletes for Medical Freedom has done an amazing thing by being top-tier athletes, world athletes, gold champion medalists, gold medal champions–I don’t know if I’m saying that correctly, you guys can correct me if you want to, but are representing and offering a platform for athletes of all ages, athletes of all levels, all disciplines.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
So I want to hear from you guys what your advice is to the younger athletes today. So there are gentlemen and ladies who have their entire careers ahead of them. They might just be entering the NCAA and the national stage for the first time.
Or it might be a high school athlete who will be faced with quarantine measures for the next semester. They could be quarantines three or four times and not be able to participate in a single competition and miss recruitment opportunities, et cetera.
So what is your advice for those young athletes?
David Taylor: It’s a tough question, and I think that what makes this decision really hard is based on your league, based on rule sets that are put in place. I mean, there are repercussions to your decision to be unvaccinated for the COVID vaccine.
So I just think it’s really important to do your research. And if you feel like it’s in your best interest to do it, so you can compete and not have to worry about those things, then at least look into it first before making that decision. And if you decide that you don’t want to have the COVID vaccine, or maybe you got the original ones and you don’t want to get the booster shots, just be willing to ask questions about what does this look like for me moving forward if I choose this route? And knowing that, again, you’re not alone. You may be alone in your specific circle, but in the grand scheme of things, there’s a lot of other people that believe what you believe. And we just want to be that sounding board, and we can hopefully help with the guidance.
Every case is different. Every person is in a different situation. It’s not a blanket thing like, “Hey, do this and you can do this” because there are a lot of variables that are out there. But just obviously, it is a little bit against the grain as of now. But I think if we continue to ask questions that the direction can change.
And there isn’t just one specific answer to this situation. There are other remedies that you can look into. We just have to continue to be proactive in trying to get that information out to as many people as we possibly can.
Leah Wilson: That’s great. I love your patriotism and how you represent our country, and how you’re willing to stand up for what you see as right in terms of your own bodies and for the bodies of other athletes. You have such a unique platform as it relates to health, as it relates to being able to influence others in having the world stage and that microphone to encourage the younger generations, and encourage people across the nation.
So thank you so much for what you’re doing, and I want us all to be able to hear how can we follow you? How can we get engaged with Athletes for Medical Freedom?
Kyle Dake: We’re on Instagram. It’s @athletes4medfreedom.
Leah Wilson: Athletes, number 4, med freedom.
Kyle Dake: There we go.
Leah Wilson: So Instagram–
Kyle Dake: That’s Instagram, and then we’re on Twitter too. We’re just starting out. Our goal is to tell stories like this, to take those snippets of content, post them on there, so that they can be passed around and like, “Okay, maybe I’m like this person. Maybe I’m in a similar situation. Ask for advice and what I should be doing.”
One of the big things for us is that we want people to come to us and ask questions, and we want to be able to provide our best knowledge. And if we can’t, then we’ll push them to someone else or someone that we rely on to gather our information from.
Because we’re not just sitting on our phones and going down these deep dive internet searches. We’re talking to people, talking to doctors, talking to all these people who have a different opinion. And their main message is, “Well, because you’re under the age of 40, you’re good to go.” Or, “This is the treatment,” or, “This is what you should do.”
If you’ve already had it, then I wouldn’t be too worried about it, but if you feel like you want to get the vaccine because you just want a little something extra for that time frame, go ahead and get it. But ultimately, it’s your choice, so whatever you decide, go for it.
And that’s the message we’re receiving, and we want to keep pushing that message to everybody else and say, “Hey, if you’re healthy, you’d be all right.”
Leah Wilson: That’s great. And how can we support you?
Kyle Dake: So we started a 501(c)(3). It’s not fully approved yet. Like we said, we have some people who are losing their stipends because they’re not willing to sign the contract and who are going to lose sponsorships. And our goal is to help others. We could just have people donate to the group and just take it for ourselves. That’s not something we’re going to do.
Why would people give money? Well, they can get a [tax write off]. Okay, that’s one reason. What else? Well, we have this group of athletes who are trying to stand up for what they believe and what I believe in, and I want to support them, and they’re losing money because of it. They’re not able to put food on their table, so I’m going to help them out.
We’re not looking for much, and really, what we’re trying to do is realize that we have the websites around. We have content to come out with, we have people that need to do this work, and I have a full-time job of trying to be the best in the world, and I can’t do that on my own.
So we have to find people that are willing to do that and [it should be handouts] all day. You should have to work for your keep and that’s where we see it.
Leah Wilson: That’s great. So if you have resonated with the message of Kyle and David today and want to support Athletes for Medical Freedom, please get in touch with them. All of their contact information, their e-mail address, the Twitter and the Instagram, are here in the caption of this video. So make sure that you reach out and support Athletes for Medical Freedom and share this information, especially with athletes across all ages and disciplines, and then with your friends and family who are also facing the issue of forced vaccination.
So thanks so much, guys. We will be sure to follow your story and follow up with you as things progress. Thank you so much.
Kyle Dake: Thanks for having us.
Leah Wilson: Absolutely.