There’s no denying the fact that sports are a huge aspect of American Culture. Sports also have the power to unite and bring people together.
Whether it’s a fierce rivalry, legendary sporting events that take place every four years, after a devastating tragedy, and/or small moments of sportsmanship, sports have the power to solve conflicts, offer worldwide inspiration, deliver entertainment, and be a distraction for a short period of time.
Now, with all of that information being said, let’s take a look down below at 10 Notable Examples of Sports Bringing The Entire World Together:
1. Major League Baseball’s Tribute To The Heroes Of & All Of The Lives Lost During 9/11:
The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks (The deadliest terrorist attack in World History) left the United States in deep mourning as the tragedy resulted in 2,996 deaths (note: this number excludes the deaths of the 19 Al-Quaeda Terrorists who committed the attacks) and more than 25,000 injuries. Following the tragedy, the sports world managed to come together in solidarity to grieve and celebrate the first responders who saved countless more lives.
One of the first MLB Games after the 9/11 attacks took place on September 21 between The New York Mets and The Atlanta Braves in New York City. The Mets won the game thanks to Mike Piazza’s game-winning home-run (see the video below) in the 8th inning, which many have called iconic, therapeutic, and symbolic.
2. The Olympic Games:
The first of the three worldwide sports events that occur every four years to be featured in this article is The Olympic Games (Both Summer and Winter), which are watched by billions of people around the world. The very first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896 in Athens, Greece and around 280 athletes (all male, women would begin competing in the Olympics at the 1900 Games in Paris) competed in 43 events that covered sports such as athletics (track & field), gymnastics, fencing, cycling, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, tennis, and shooting.
For the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which will now take place during Summer 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is expected that around 206 countries and 11,091 athletes (male and female) will compete. The Olympics in Tokyo will feature 339 events in 33 different sports, encompassing a total of 50 disciplines.
3. The FIFA World Cup:
Dubbed as the world’s biggest sports event, The FIFA World Cup brings together different countries and fans from around the world every four years since 1930. The average number of viewers for the FIFA World Cup tops out at more than 3 billion people. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Final was viewed globally by 1.12 billion people.
4. The FIFA Women’s World Cup:
Along with The FIFA World Cup, The FIFA Women’s World Cup (which has been held every four years since its inception in 1990) is also another sports event that has brought people around the world together. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final broke tournament records as the most-watched Women’s World Cup Final with a combined 1.12 billion viewers tuning into the official broadcast coverage.
5. “Boston Strong” Unites The City and World after the Boston Marathon Bombings:
The Bombings at The 2013 Boston Marathon left three people dead and around 264 people injured. The actual Boston Marathon attracts an international following and the effects from 2013 bombings were not only felt by just the United States but the entire world too.
At The Boston Red Sox’s first home game after the bombings, star player and future MLB Hall of Fame David Ortiz rallied the city of Boston with a passionate speech (see below) exclaiming: “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say ‘Red Sox.’ It says ‘Boston.’ We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job that they did this past week. This is our f—ing city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
When the Boston Red Sox went on to win the World Series a couple of months after bombings, the whole nation (except for maybe St. Louis Cardinals fans) was happy with the team’s inspiring victory.
6. The Last Dance Unites All Sports Fans During The COVID-19 Pandemic:
The Coronavirus Pandemic resulted in most sports being cancelled or postponed. With sports slowly returning (as of the time of press time, we have seen the return of professional European Soccer Leagues such as La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, and the Bundesliga), it is still gonna be a while before things go back to normal.
However, when everything, included sports was halted, Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, managed to unite the world from mid-April to early May with the release of The Last Dance. The 10-episode Docu-series covers the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls Season and the dynasty’s sixth and final championship. With the absence of live sports, millions tuned in each week to see the new episodes.
7. Ping Pong Diplomacy Helps Ease US-China Relations:
In the middle of The Cold War, a nice encounter between the American and the Chinese ping pong players at the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships helped ease the tensions between the United States and China. The exchange led to Mao Zedong to invite the American team to play in a series of exhibition matches in China. This led to President Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing to meet with Zedong.
Who would have thought that all it would take to ease the tensions between The United States and China during the height of the Cold War would be sports?
8. With The Help of Luz Long, Jesse Owens Ruins Hitler’s Olympics:
Prior to World War II officially kicking off, German Dictator Adolf Hitler hoped to use the 1936 Summer Olympics (which were held in Berlin) as a show of German force and Nazi racial superiority. However, Hitler’s aspirations were thwarted when Jesse Owens, an African-American track star, took home four Olympic Gold Medals in the 100-meter race, 200-meter race, 4×100-meter relay, and the long jump.
Owen’s four Olympic Gold Medals made him the most successful athletes across all sports in the 1936 Olympics, which left the German Dictator furious and humiliated. Owens later credited his victory in the long jump event to Luz Long, a German who won the silver behind Owens and gave him technical advice to help Owens qualify for the long jump final.
9. The Dream Team at The 1992 Olympics:
The 1992 Summer Olympics were historic in the sense that it was the first time that professional basketball players were allowed to compete in the Summer Games. The 1992 United States’ Men Olympic Basketball Team, better known as The Dream Team, included the likes of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.
The Dream Team not only dominated their way to the Olympic Gold Medal, but also created relationships with players and fans from around the world. The Dream Team is also credited for bringing a heavy global interest in the sport of basketball and for the huge amount of international talent in the NBA today.
10. The India-Pakistan Match During The 2015 Cricket World Cup:
Tensions between India and Pakistan have always been extremely hostile. The two countries have an intense rivalry when it comes to cricket. When the two countries played each other during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, more than 1 billion people around the world tuned in to watch the match.
Along with the ones listed above, in your opinion, what other examples of sports bringing the world together do you find notable? Be sure to let us know what other examples down below in the comments section!
Featured Image Source: https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2018/04/16/boston-marathon-john-j-winters
I am currently a senior at The University of Miami. I will graduate in December 2021 with a major in Journalism and minor in Sports Administration.