Think the Olympic Games and the World Cup are just about sports?
Olympian Kelly Clark can attest to the goodwill that these global tournaments promote. “It’s been amazing as an athlete to see what sports can do,” she told Big Think. “There’s so much opportunity to focus on negative things, and there’s so much opportunity to focus on things that can divide us. And sports have the ability to defuse that.”
Clark, a champion halfpipe snowboarder, won the gold in 2002 in Salt Lake City, and bronze medals in the 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi games. She has also been tirelessly championing talented young athletes through the Kelly Clark Foundation, which breaks down financial barriers for snowboarders. Her foundation has awarded over $60,000 in scholarships to date. She continues to compete, and has won 70 halfpipe competitions, including gold medals in 9 X Games.
“I’ve seen nothing but good things as a result of sports and I’ve loved being part of the Olympic Games, and I love watching things like the World Cup, because I know what that’s doing for the countries and for the people in the counties,” she says of the power of sports to bring the world together. Proving her point, on Tuesday, after Germany’s stunning defeat of Brazil, Clovis Acosta Fernandes, one of the many Brazilian fans snapped crying by photographers and dubbed “The Saddest Man in Brazil,” gave his replica World Cup trophy to a German fan. “You deserve it, congratulations!” he told the Germany supporter, according to theIndependent.
Watch this clip from Big Think’s interview with Clark for her take on why global tournaments matter: