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Sports for Peace

Sports for Peace
Fireworks explode during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games closing ceremony Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Photo: Deseret News

By Dr. Tomi Wahlström |

One of the reasons that I personally got interested in sports has to do with the impact of sports on the world. Sport brings people together and allows people to celebrate human spirit. It is a way to embrace diversity, and promote cultural relativity. The Olympics are a perfect example of the way sports can promote peace and harmony. But we do have to look far to see sports being a positive contributor in the society. The stories of sports saving lives are around us everywhere. Sports are a way for delinquent teenagers to get out of the streets and focus their energies in something positive. Sports are a way to fight obesity and promote better health. Sports are also a form of entertainment and social interaction that fights societal issues like loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

As a management professor, I feel that work plays an important part in our lives. Management is a universal field since all of us will someday be managed or manage someone. My journey to sports started from this perspective. Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry and employs countless of people. As such, it provides career opportunities and income. It is an economic engine in many ways, and can be used as a measure of economic development of a society. When the economic conditions of a country improve and create a middle-class with disposable income, sports becomes a viable form of entertainment and a development of a sustainable sports industry is possible.

Sports is an exciting and positive career choice because sports itself is such a positive force. We all look for a meaning in our work, and this meaning is very clear in sports. By working in the sports field, you can be a part of something socially responsible; something that makes the world a better place. I know that it sounds like a cliché, but you can be a part of promoting world peace. Sports industry is becoming more environmentally conscious as shown by the Japanese preparations for the summer Olympics in Tokyo, 2020. Countries are putting their political differences aside as was seen in the Korean winter Olympics in 2018, when North Koreans unexpectedly joined the games. Now, South and North Koreans are planning a joint bid for 2032 summer Olympics. I find this amazing since I lived in Seoul for a while and am very aware of the tensions between these two countries.

Sport is an expression of humanity unlike anything else. It is a way to explore our physical and psychological limits. It is also an expression of creativity, as arts and sports are inseparable in so many important ways. It is, in my humble opinion, the best industry to work for.

Dr. Tomi Wahlström is Vice President of Academic Affairs at the United States Sports Academy.


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