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Are we on the verge of global conflict?

Are we on the verge-capa-mileniostadium
Credito: Twitter/Olympics

It seems that whatever you watch on television news it’s mostly about conflict and the possibility of war. We seem to be slammed with bad news all around. The word war has been used so much more recently and with all the Covid-19 conspiracies, one must stop and reflect whether these two issues are working hand in hand. We need to ask the question of whether Covid-19 and the possible conflict of war have any similarity or comparisons.

Sports has always been a global indicator of which nation dominates in sport and on the global stage. Just as cheating happens in doping to give athletes an advantage in the performance of the sport they are competing in. Getting that edge to become a dominant force in the world dates back to the roman empire and nothing has really changed since. With the Olympics happening in the coming days and the focus on global tension, there is nothing as conflicts date back to the Hitler era.

Sport is a universal language. It has the ability to bridge social and ethnic divides as a result it can be used as a tool for promoting peace, symbolically on the global level and practically within communities. Sport can be used to sustain global peace. When used effectively, sports programs promote social integration and foster tolerance. These sports values are the same as those necessary for lasting peace. 

The role and impact of sports in society has been a subject of debate for centuries. For many, sport is viewed as a physical activity that is always associated with competition among nations or teams for pride and glory. Sport, games and physical activity in general are activities present in virtually every society across the globe. The popularity of sports transcends political, national and ideological frontiers and it is a practice enjoyed by spectators and athletes alike. But just as sport is oftentimes associated with fierce competition and aggression, sport can also be regarded as a dignified activity and as a vehicle through which the highest moral and corporeal ideals are expressed. In this connection, sport has also the capacity to foster friendships and to unite people around a common activity, sometimes in the most unexpected of circumstances.

However, there is a flip side to sport and how it has transcended the globe on a negative circumstance and fostered cheating as well as using these sport platforms whether it is the Olympics, the world cup and so many other major sporting events that take place on a global platform. Many sport conflicts have been used through athletes, how certain games are performed and how they have used these games to get an edge on political propaganda and other forms of brainwashing. These may seem like very bold comments, but history has proved that sport has always been part of the cultural fabric dating back to the roman empire and the use of gladiators through the senate of the day.

Has sport and global conflict been strangers to each other?

Conflict prevention at a global level through sports can be achieved through imbibing the spirit of the Olympic ideal. In sports, justice and fair play can be displayed in various situations. Fair play starts with the individual athletes. This is exhibited in the way they obey the rules and regulations of the game, their attitudes towards their fellow contestant and how they conduct themselves generally on the playground. The development of the sportsmanship character makes athletes to abhor cheating making them act in a just and acceptable manner. 

The Olympics have long been recognized by many as the world’s highest international sporting event where athletes from all over the world come together, show their excellence, build friendship and convey the message of world peace. There are many examples of this including the Hitler era where the Olympics took place in Berlin and although we were involved in a world war, these games went ahead be it under a lot of tension at the time, but they in fact happened and may have been a pivotal turn at that time.

The 1936 Olympics were held in a tense, politically charged atmosphere. The Nazi Party had risen to power in 1933, two years after Berlin was awarded the Games, and its racist policies led to international debate about a boycott of the Games. Fearing a mass boycott, the International Olympic Committee pressured the German government and received assurances that qualified Jewish athletes would be part of the German team and that the Games would not be used to promote Nazi ideology.

Coming full circle to where we are today, just by chance we are coming into the Olympics and at the same time we are facing global stress not only in Europe, in North America and the middle east. Conflict and sport seem to go hand in hand whether good, bad or indifferent, one could say that the war room strategy is the same in war as it is competitive sport. As the expression goes….” let the games begin” or “let the political games begin” both have the same meaning with sometimes the same results. 

Sport and conflict are no means linked together, but the approach and challenges are the same and the mind set to get the results are the same….

Win at all costs….

Vince Nigro/MS

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