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Maryyyyyy
June 23rd, 2005, 04:24 AM
The United Nations has declared 2005 the

International Year of Sport and Physical Education (http://www.un.org/sport2005/)

Kofi Annan says:

"Sport is an international language that can bring people together, no matter what their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status."

"The International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005) provides a unique opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the importance of sport in society and on how sport and physical education programmes can be used as tools to help combat challenges such as extreme poverty, conflict and HIV/AIDS and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals."

What do you think about the potential of sport to promote peace, to bring people of different backgrounds together?

Mary

By the way, if you are organizing an event which you believe fits the criteria of the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, you can contact the UN for sponsorship (no $$ though, just their blessings!) I got it for my Strait of Messina (http://www.iswimitaly.it/) swim!

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 23rd, 2005, 10:49 AM
Mary,
I don't think so. But it can do things. Has anyone looked into FINA's swim against Malaria or Swim Accross America ?

Maryyyyyy
June 23rd, 2005, 11:02 AM
The World Swim for Malaria is a great initiative! We masters in Italy just heard about it yesterday, and we definitely plan to organize a benefit event. Here's the link:

World Swim for Malaria (http://www.worldswimformalaria.com/en/Homepage.aspx)

aquageek
June 23rd, 2005, 11:04 AM
Hopefully no one will swim in a mosquito infested swimming hole.

Tom Ellison
June 23rd, 2005, 11:32 AM
"Quote Annan"
"The International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005) provides a unique opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the importance of sport in society and on how sport and physical education programs can be used as tools to help combat challenges ....."

Gosh, Annan’s new focus on Sports is all the more remarkable for the fact that they are made against the backdrop of the biggest scandal in U.N. history, the ill-fated Oil-for-Food program, now the subject of at least four congressional investigations, three U.S. federal investigations, as well as a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry, the Volcker Commission.


Several questions remain regarding Kofi Annan:

1. Did the U.N. Secretary-General deliberately turn a blind eye to U.N. mismanagement and corruption in overseeing the Oil-for-Food program?

2. Did he sympathize with the efforts of Saddam Hussein and key members of the Security Council to lift U.N. sanctions against Iraq?

3. Were efforts made by the Hussein regime to influence the actions and decisions of the Secretary-General with regard to Iraq?

4. Was Annan influenced in his decision-making regarding the program by his son’s involvement with Cotecna?

5. What was Annan's involvement ($ reward) in the Oil-for Food program?

I think the Sports bodies around the world can do without UN help or intervention.....at least until they get their ducks in a huddle.....

nkace
June 23rd, 2005, 12:07 PM
You have walk a thons, & run a thons, even bike a thons for a lot of causes. I have even done a virtual march on line for the environment.
Internationally there are tons of sports that bring people together. This is a great avenue that should be explored more.
I think this would be great.

FindingMyInnerFish
June 23rd, 2005, 01:18 PM
Without getting into the UN controversy that Tom discusses, the idea of sports as an avenue to peace raises mixed feelings for me.

The idealist in me wants to believe this is possible.

The realist sees countries using their sports programs for propagandizing and (in some cases) drugging their athletes, turning their sports systems into an industry. Then too there's the cut-throat competition of international soccer matches, with players and coaches getting death threats. (Come to think of it, even here in Philly, the pitcher who threw the home run ball to Joe Carter in the '93 World Series was getting death threats.)

Sports in some respects mimic war--team sports more so than individual sports. Think of the language ppl use to describe wins and losses. "____ routs ____." Or "____ rolls over ____." Try going to a game and rooting for the away team--especially if there's a serious rivalry going on. Historically, sports have served as training for war, as evidenced by the famous saying, "the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."

That said, I do see the potential: when I was a kid, there was a girl who constantly put me down because I wasn't good at sports. She was one of the "cool" kids. I felt pretty awkward around her. We went to the same day camp and year after year, it seemed things thawed between us. The very thing that divided us began to unite us. I wasn't that great at sports, but I was very determined and willing to try. At 14, my parents said I didn't need to go to the day camp anymore but by then I'd made friends and wanted to attend (aren't parents clever that way! I didn't want to and resisted every year for a while). She too attended, and I think we were the only 14-year-olds in our group--somehow that may have drawn us together...that and I think she grew to respect that I didn't give up easily. And I came to respect and admire her skill.

Sports brings with it a kind of intimacy, even among strangers, that is hard to find elsewhere. After a swim meet, I met my competitors in the shower, locker room, and sauna. And we ceased to be people with titles or records or whatever. We were just women sharing our experiences. After some group runs, the runners sometimes gather at a local restaurant where no matter how fast or slow anyone is, the common ground is that we all knew what it was to hurt from your best effort, to walk into a restaurant sweaty and laughing at ourselves.

Maybe the question is not so much whether sports generally can promote peace--but how can they? Competition is great--healthy, fun, demanding of our best efforts. I tend to be uncomfortable w/ someone saying, "oh I'm not competitive" as if somehow that's politically incorrect. I'm all about PC. And slow as molasses. But even in a slow race, I have been known to hear footsteps behind me and say to myself, "no way she's going to pass me!"

Anyone serious about a sport knows how that feels, knows what it is to wonder if you can take another step, if you can swim another stroke, if you can avoid maxing out in oxygen debt and finish the race. It doesn't matter what country you're from, how fast you are, how much money you have. The athlete feels both strong and fragile--feels herself at the edge of what it is to be human, testing herself against others. Competitors share the same pool, the same track, the same race course, the same struggle of will.

Tom Ellison
June 23rd, 2005, 01:23 PM
FindingMyInnerFish...great post....thank you

FindingMyInnerFish
June 23rd, 2005, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by Tom Ellison
FindingMyInnerFish...great post....thank you

Thanks Tom! I've been doing a lot of thinking about the topic! Glad you liked the post!

Kae1
June 23rd, 2005, 02:29 PM
I don't know about peace, but I'm really surprised that USMS clubs don't get more involved in fundraising. They have a Walk 4 a Cure, Rune 4 a Cure, etc. - why not raise money for the Komen Foundation with Swim 4 a Cure?

My sister runs marathons and does bike "tours" for the Luekemia Lymphoma Society (our uncle suffered, and a friend of mine currently is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant because of). I don't own a bike, and hate running, so how can I swim for the cause?

Organizations fighting MS, AIDS, various cancers, Alzheimers, all sorts of things, do athletic type fundraisers. Anyone know how a USMS club could put together a postal swim or something of the sort to support these types of causes?

Kae

Scansy
June 23rd, 2005, 07:40 PM
Gee Tom, I was thinking about putting up a similar post, but you saved me the trouble!

If Annan is pushing The International Year of Sport and Physical Education" I have to ask.... what's in it for him?


Originally posted by Tom Ellison
"Quote Annan"
"The International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005) provides a unique opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the importance of sport in society and on how sport and physical education programs can be used as tools to help combat challenges ....."

Gosh, Annan’s new focus on Sports is all the more remarkable for the fact that they are made against the backdrop of the biggest scandal in U.N. history, the ill-fated Oil-for-Food program, now the subject of at least four congressional investigations, three U.S. federal investigations, as well as a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry, the Volcker Commission.


Several questions remain regarding Kofi Annan:

1. Did the U.N. Secretary-General deliberately turn a blind eye to U.N. mismanagement and corruption in overseeing the Oil-for-Food program?

2. Did he sympathize with the efforts of Saddam Hussein and key members of the Security Council to lift U.N. sanctions against Iraq?

3. Were efforts made by the Hussein regime to influence the actions and decisions of the Secretary-General with regard to Iraq?

4. Was Annan influenced in his decision-making regarding the program by his son’s involvement with Cotecna?

5. What was Annan's involvement ($ reward) in the Oil-for Food program?

I think the Sports bodies around the world can do without UN help or intervention.....at least until they get their ducks in a huddle.....

Sparky
June 23rd, 2005, 11:36 PM
I'm with both Kael and InnerFish, even though they each make different points.

On the practical side, USMS would do well to use swimming events as ways to raise money for various causes. That would also bring out the so-called "non-competitive" swimmers who might find a bigger purpose in the endeavor than simply making better times. I run in road races not to compete but to help raise money for a worthy cause.

And to give myself shin splints. There, I said it.

Sport has a limited ability to bring people together. At first, it seems like a great idea, but as politics gets involved, the stakes get ratcheted up until the whole idea of unity is as insignificant a thought as what color the jerseys are.

Playing games to unite folks is a great idea, but we have to realize at some point, it's only a game.

In my humble opinion, natch.

Adam

Howard
June 24th, 2005, 10:36 AM
If left to the athletes then peace may be promoted. When governments and politicians get involved then sport is just another pawn in the political game. Did the olympic boycotts in
80 and 84 help with peace?

scyfreestyler
June 24th, 2005, 12:47 PM
This thread is destined for closing due to it's political nature but I will say that Kofi Annan get's no respect from me.

Scansy
June 24th, 2005, 01:02 PM
Originally posted by 330man
This thread is destined for closing due to it's political nature but I will say that Kofi Annan get's no respect from me.

And I bet he can't keep up with any of us in a 400 IM either!

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 24th, 2005, 01:04 PM
1. I thinkn that the UN has become so big it can't be managed. It is an organization that does some good & some bad. I think it is like any big institution.

2. The malaria swim and Swim Across America are really both outside of USMS's abilities. both are expected to bring in more money than orginally thought possible.

3. USMS seems to have enough on its plate trying to get people swimming. It seems to me that it needs a major membership reorganization and thrust. How can a membership organization continue when it doesn't have a membership drive?

4. Sports are politcal. Just look at what sports each country tries to influence through its sports federations and other organizations.

Maryyyyyy
June 25th, 2005, 06:24 AM
wow! the major part of the responses here are surprisingly (for me) negative! so negative my pc got hit by a virus and is down - I'm just checking in from an internet cafe...

no one thinks sports can help promote peace, not even a little?

question: if a thread can be closed for its political nature, why is the one about foreign athletes training at USA universities still open?

Peace!

Mary

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 25th, 2005, 11:45 AM
Originally posted by Maryyyyyy
wow! the major part of the responses here are surprisingly (for me) negative! so negative my pc got hit by a virus and is down - I'm just checking in from an internet cafe...

no one thinks sports can help promote peace, not even a little?

question: if a thread can be closed for its political nature, why is the one about foreign athletes training at USA universities still open?

Peace!

Mary

Mary,

that's a great question. Maybe you haven't been in the US recently enough but we are having a huge debate about foreigners, illegal aliens and possible terrists. the country has been so changed. there is so much anti-foreigners mentally that it has run over into the pool. My personal oppinionis that it is at the least embarrasing.

Tom Ellison
June 26th, 2005, 07:45 AM
"no one thinks sports can help promote peace, not even a little?"

Gosh, in my post I didn't say that. I did say, I do not think the UN can promote peace or anything else right now because they are snowed under dealing with the biggest scandal in U.N. history, the ill-fated Oil-for-Food program, now the subject of at least four congressional investigations, three U.S. federal investigations, as well as a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry, the Volcker Commission.

Also, when you say “promote peace”.....Please define PEACE.....

Anytime diverse groups of people come together toward one goal, such as athletic achievement, ideas and culture will be commonly shared and exchanged among the athletes. Each will have the opportunity to see first hand that for the most part, we are much the same. We love our families, want the best for our children and share many of the same aspirations in life that men and woman have shared for centuries.

Will this common bond help promote peace? Well, it sure as heck can’t hurt! As for the UN being involved, pass on that idea. I do not trust the UN! I believe they are partisan in their politics, corrupt in every respect and the mouth piece for any nation that will stuff their pockets under the table. In short, why get Drackula to guard the blood bank?

Maryyyyyy
June 27th, 2005, 06:31 AM
I'm very sorry for the negative twist this thread has taken. That certainly wasn't my intention when I opened it. I am not in a position to defend the UN nor Kafi Annan and have no intention of doing so, just as I have no intention of condemning them

In the name of peace (please see the definition below, especially n. 5) I would like to ask that the administrator close this thread before it goes any further.

peace

NOUN:

1.The absence of war or other hostilities.
2. An agreement or a treaty to end hostilities.
3. Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations: roommates living in peace with each other.
4. Public security and order: was arrested for disturbing the peace.
5. Inner contentment; serenity: peace of mind.

Tom Ellison
June 27th, 2005, 08:50 AM
I'm sorry if my posts were negative and I sincerely apologize.

I simply cannot hide my complete disgust and dislike for the UN or Kafi Annan.

Your 5 points to peace are well taken....

Kindest regards,
Tom Ellison

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 27th, 2005, 10:21 AM
As some one who majored in Anthropolgy, I know that war is the break down of reciprocity.

Kimberlie Streed
June 27th, 2005, 05:41 PM
In response to the original question "Can Sport Help Promote Peace?" I urge everyone to read Swimming To Antarctica, Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox.

Lynne an incredible swimmer with an even more incredible story followed her dream and 11 year quest to swim from the US to the Soviet Union. In 1987, still during the cold war, she was granted approval from the Soviets to swim ashore after crossing the Bering Straits from Alaska. The swim, 2 hours 6 minutes in 42 degree water in itself an unbelievable feat, and her motivation, bridging a gap and opening the door for peace an even more improbably quest. I quote from the book, just after she exited the 42 degree water, even before making it to the warming tent ...

..."One reporter from Russian television asked, Do you think your swim will contribute to a reduction in nuclear missiles in the US and the Soviet Union and further the INF treaty? Do the American people really view the Soviet union as the evil Empire? Why did you make the swim?...

... ...My speech was slurred, and my numb lips weren't helping me speak. I tried to quickly sort out my thoughts and feelings. How could I possibly speak for the American People? 'The reason I swam across the Bering Strait was to reach into the future, to cross the international date line, and to symbolically bridge the distance between the US and the Soviet Union. It was to generage goodwill and peace between our two countries, our two peoples. ...'"

You need to get and read the book in order to learn the rest. I encourage everone who absolutely loves swimming and who want to know the impact that one incredible athlete has had on world relations to read this story. I cried more than once being so touched by her courage, her quests and her successes. (Heather, I know swimmers don't cry, but this is different.) Lynne Cox is and will remain a favorite hero of mine. Hope to hear your thoughts.

Maryyyyyy
June 28th, 2005, 05:58 AM
Thanks Kimberlie!
I read Lynne's book too, soon after it came out last year! This is actually the kind of story I was thinking of when I opened the thread (having no idea that it would bring out such political polemics! :rolleyes: ) Lynne is a hero for me too! It's incredible what she puts her body through for scientific research and yes, to bridge gaps between societies. And, she's definitely NOT looking for glory nor the spotlight. Her motives are sincere.. perhaps even naif...
My original idea with this thread was that sports events bring together people of different countries, religions, and backgrounds in a generally friendly atmosphere (although obviously there are exceptions) and that the intermingling at these events can help us understand one another.
I guess I'm naif too, but I'm proud of that. We can't all be smart and calculating...
One positive aspect of some sports events (such as the Messina Strait Swim, and many other open water swims) is that it is open to both disabled and able-bodied athletes. My swim is non-competitive... but what disabled athletes tell me is that they enjoy competing AGAINST able-bodied athletes, rather than always being segregated into separate competitions, such as the par-olympics (though with this I certainly DON'T want to deny the importance of the par-olympics!!)

just random thoughts, that's all!

peace!! :cool:

LindsayNB
June 28th, 2005, 10:45 AM
I looked at the UN Resolution (http://www.un.org/sport2005/resources/un_resolutions/engl_58_5.pdf) which is titled Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace and it seems to me that to single out peace distorts the emphasis a little. The program seems to be as much about Physical Education as "sport". In that regard I found a document linked to in another thread pretty interesting:
PE4Life Blueprint for Change - Our Nation's Broken Physical Education System: Why it Needs to be Fixed, and How We Can Do It Together (http://pe4life.com/articles/blueprint2004.pdf). It's chock full of interesting quotes and statistics.

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 28th, 2005, 10:51 AM
I read the book. I thought it was very over written.