Per Svensson (United States) on Using Technology to Facilitate Global Conversations about Olympic Values

July 26, 2012

The role of the Olympic values and Olympism will undergo profound change during the twenty-first and have the potential to become the foundation for positive social change around the globe. The first decade of the twenty-first century has already resulted in formal recognition of the power of sport in development and peace-building efforts by the United Nations and the European Commission. I believe these milestones are the beginning of the change to come during this century. I envision younger generations serving as catalysts for change in realizing the potential of the Olympic values. The values of excellence, respect, and friendship far transcend the world of sports. Nonetheless, we cannot fail to address the negative values associated with sport such as violence, doping, and racism. Sport by itself is not a solution to societal problems, but by harnessing the positive aspects of sport such as the Olympic values and blending sport with educational and cultural elements, sport has the potential to be a valuable tool in more holistic approaches for generating the peaceful society Pierre de Coubertin envisioned when he founded the Modern Olympic Movement in the late nineteenth century.
In order to realize the potential of the Olympic values, a greater interdisciplinary approach including policymakers, practitioners, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, the public sector, and community members is needed. An increasing number of sport-based initiatives attempt to use the Olympic values to address societal issues and create positive social change in communities around the world. However, these organizations appear to compete over the same limited resources because of minimal inter-organizational communication rather than collaborating to achieve their common goals. The Olympic values provide the foundation to empower people in transforming not only their own lives, but also the global community itself by facilitating global conversations through the common language of Olympism. In order to realize the potential of the Olympic values, we need to identify creative ways to overcome lack of collaboration and advance sport-for-development. One of these ways is use of evolving technology.

I believe innovations in technology will play an integral part in advancing sport-for-development programs. Mobile and computer technology has the potential to facilitate change in several ways. The global reach of Web 2.0 technology (online social networks, blogs, etc.) can aid in facilitating an ongoing global conversation about Olympic values. Creative and cost-effective innovations in technology can also aid in creating more efficient interdisciplinary communication and collaboration among stakeholders. Technology can also help educators integrate the Olympic values into their existing curricula through program development and sharing of best practices. I believe this integration is crucial for advancing the use of sport for promoting positive social change in the twenty-first century. Policymakers and decisionmakers need to actively support the use of the Olympic values not only in physical activity courses, but also in teaching of non-sport subjects such as social studies, moral education, language arts, sciences, and mathematics. By so doing, we could see the world achieve Pierre de Coubertin’s vision of Olympism.
comments powered by Disqus