Olympic legend Sergei Bubka has teamed-up with United Nations Education and Culture Organisation UNESCO and sports marketing guru Patrick Nally to develop a comprehensive project leading to a route map for the future of sport and its relationship with governments, business, education and society.
Speaking at the International Herald Tribune Sports Business Summit in Istanbul, the six time world champion pole vaulter said that none of his medals or world records was more important to him than securing the future of sport.
“Success in sport has given me so much… in fact it has given me everything,” said Bubka who is among the candidates to succeed Jacques Rogge as President of the International Olympic Committee.
“Most important it has given me a burning desire to make sure that current athletes and the generation which will follow in their footsteps have the best possible opportunity to enrich their lives and enrich society through participation in sport and living by its fundamental, positive values,” he said.
“While sport has never been more widely available or more talked about, thanks to the digital revolution, we face many challenges. I believe wholeheartedly in sport as a positive force in every aspect of life. Its values are fundamental to the human condition, it teaches discipline and the need for hard work, and it encourages teamwork and celebrates the brilliance of individuals.
“Sport forges lifelong friendships which cut across political, racial and religious boundaries. Sport is a state of mind and a way of life.
“Sport needs to be protected and nurtured at a time of change; a time in which fewer young people are connected to sport in many parts of the world; a time when sport is threatened by doping, match fixing and the corruption of some officials.
“The end of my competitive career wasn’t the end of my love affair with sport. It was simply a new beginning.”
The new initiative has been designed to follow-up on the Berlin Declaration signed by Ministers from 137 nations who met in the German capital last week.
Bubka was joined by Nally and Phillip Muller-Wirth of UNESCO to introduce the project concept to an international audience of sports leaders.
“Our aim to establish exactly how the world is changing and the impact of these changes on the way that sport operates,” Bubka said.
“We need to understand sport’s relationship with government, its role in education, the impact of technology and its continuing relationship with the commercial and media sectors.
“This initiative will create a platform for discussion and debate among stakeholders in every area of sport; from athletes themselves to governments, the worlds of technology, commerce and society at large.
“Its aim is to identify the forces which are shaping sport now and will do so in the years ahead. From this invaluable data we will be able to formulate strategies and create effective programmes which will ensure that sport and the spirit of sport thrive and remain central to lives of individuals and of nations.
“The outcome will be a road map for the future of sport created by the best brains in the world.”
According to Patrick Nally the project will involve Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as national governments including that of Brazil.
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