The global influence of sports
Sports are a way for the toughest, most talented, fastest members of our society to claim superiority in various athletic competitions. Over the years though, sports have come to gain large popularity and have ultimately started affecting countries’ policy decisions.
Looking back through history, sports have been a method for countries to try to express their dominance in the international community, as well as expand their influence.
Sports have also come to have political effects through the media, as it is a platform through which athletes can express their views to millions of people. Sports have long been used to assert a country’s dominance in the international community. During the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, Germany hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics.
This was largely to show off the new technology that German scientists had been developing and it was the first Olympics to ever be broadcasted on television. The Berlin Olympics were also used to show the superiority of German athletes at the time, as they won the most medals, beating the second place United States by over 30.
During the Cold War, foreign policy became expressed on ice. At the height of the Cold War, the U.S and the Soviet Union played each other during the 1980 Winter Olympics. This game became viewed as a Cold War on ice, instead of just a normal hockey game.
These countries had been on the verge of war for years and their rivalry was being broadcasted to the public through hockey. With the U.S winning, a lot of Americans believed this was representative of the fact that they would end the Cold War in victory.
Sports have become such a recognized form of expressing dominance internationally, that North Korea has actually used it to manipulate its people. Various videos have made their way out of North Korea, showing the North Koreans winning the FIFA World Cup and various Olympic events that they did not even participate in.
Kim Jong-Un has begun to use sports to manipulate people into believing that they are far superior than the rest of the international community. Sports these days have now also come to largely affect politics through the media.
When Donald Trump tried to implement his notorious Travel Ban, a lot of athletes were affected and used their platform to express their discontent and opposition to the policy. NBA players like Thon Maker were affected, and came out in the media in opposition of Donald Trump. As millions of people watch the NBA, it brought awareness to some of the issues with the Travel Ban. Likewise, the NFL has been recently used as a platform for athletes to express their discontent with various court rulings, support for the #blacklivesmatter campaign, as well as opposition against Donald Trump’s presidency, by taking knees during the national anthem.
NFL players also chose to raise awareness for various organizations this year, through the “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign.
Each player chose their own cause and wore cleats designed to bring awareness to different issues. Although sports are mostly viewed as basic athletic competitions, there are larger implications on the international community and politics in general.
They can be used as a way for countries to try and establish dominance, a way to hash out rivalries without military action, or even just as a platform for athletes to express their political beliefs.