Winter Olympics: Sport Remains Best Barrier Breaker

Sport The Best Mechanism To Promote Peace

It’s a fact that we live in a diverse world where people are divided by race and ideologies. But there is one thing that brings almost all together amid diversity and differences: sports. In light of the Winter Olympics, it has become a good venue to mend broken relationships for people divided by war or prejudice.

This insight is also confirmed by Dr. George Cunningham, professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, who cited reasons why sport is an effective mechanism in equalizing people of different backgrounds.

Dr. Cunningham said, “When people participate on sports teams together, they have a common goal, common outcomes and even what social psychologists call a common fate. If the team loses, it’s not an individual who loses, but the whole collective loses.”

Cunningham explained that sports promotes belongingness and connectedness among fans and sports enthusiasts, even adversaries. It is more of a “we” thing when fans gather to watch and cheer for their teams. The overwhelming sense of victory also draws strangers for a hug.

That’s why you hug the stranger next to you when the team makes a three-pointer or hits the home run, even though you don’t know that person. Because of that identity and shared connectedness.”

North Korea and South Korea

The world is now watching North Korea and South Korea on a possible path to the peace table. The prestigious Olympics became the best venue for making amends. In fact, recent events made headlines on the historic move of North Korea to invite South Korean President to travel to Pyongyang for a summit. The move made the international community wonder if finally the two Korean countries will become friends again.

In the 2018 Winter Olympics, North Korea participated in the games and even joined South Koreans in creating a unified ice hockey team, with players from both North and South. This is a good example that makes sports a powerful tool to break barriers in international relations.

Aside from that, sports can also provide opportunities for eliminating bias. In 2016, Dr. Cunningham conducted research on sport participation and prejudice.

Dr. Cunningham said, “We’ve seen where participating on sports teams, or even engaging in informal sports with people who are different than you, can help in prejudice reduction toward that individual, and depending on the nature of the interaction, toward the group as a whole.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics is not only providing a path for possible peace negotiations for North Korea and South Korea. For Americans, it could also provide a brief opportunity to put aside differences and cheer for Team USA, as a unified people.

Winter Olympics 2018 Korea

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be held for 17 days from 9 to 25 February 2018 in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, the Republic of Korea. PyeongChang was selected as the host city of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

These Olympic Winter Games are held in Korea for the first time in 30 years after the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. PyeongChang is the stage for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and most snow sports.

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.