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Paralympics & Sustainable Sportsmanship

by ethicalDeal Marketing Coordinator Meaghan (Meg) Orlinski. (This is a series on greening the Olympics.  You can read the introduction here.)

London 2012 sustainable stadium

London’s Olympic Stadium is the most sustainable in the world.

I’m experiencing Olympic withdrawal. The dazzle, pageantry, heart, pride and spirit of the Olympic games leaves us wanting more. Luckily on August 29th, the Paralympic Games will start and dazzle us once again by the best the world has to offer. This year we are being asked to meet the Super Humans. I can’t wait to get my sportsmanship fix!

The Paralympics events may be the saving grace of world sports this year. Its promotional campaign highlights that this is a game about personal triumph. Although we all loved the Olympic games, this year was particularly marred with sportsmanship-lacking scandals. Racist tweets, countless doping disqualifications, tanked badminton games, heavily debatable judging, lewd mayors, record low tickets and corporate sponsors with mismatched values took away from the true meaning of the Olympics. The original values? Friendship, Excellence, Respect. 

 

What defines sportsmanship?

“When looking at the definition of sportsmanship, you would likely find words like fairness, ethics, and respect. Words also associated with the fair trade model,” says James Milligan, founder of Social Conscience, a fair trade sports ball company based out of Vancouver.

If the games are about uniting the world under the banner of friendly competition, then shouldn’t that friendly competition be guided by practices that preserve that world? Can fair trade and sustainability be the route back to a true Olympics? There was huge media attention and public pride around the 2012 Olympics sustainability initiatives. The architectural legacy left by the Olympics in London will be modern and green.

Is a focus on fair trade and world preservation will be the key to keeping the true spirit of the Olympics alive? We’ll have to see what Sochi 2014 offers next. While countries compete to break world records in speed, agility and strength, I am hoping countries will really start competing in ethics, equality, and sustainability.

 


Right to Play Motto: Look After Yourself, Look after one another.

Right To Play’s iconic red ball. 

Three organizations that will keep your eco Olympic torch glowing until the Paralympic games open:

 

  1. Outdoor sports are synonymous with environmentalism (thanks to organizations like the Sierra Club and companies like MEC), while large scale organized sports have been synonymous with toxic chemical uniforms and overflowing bins of disposable beer cups. The Green Sports Alliance is changing this. Since January of 2010, they have brought together venue operators, sports team executives and environmental scientists to exchange information about better practices to make green go mainstream in competitive sports.
  2. Right to Play‘s mission is to improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace. Sport for Development programs embody the best values of sport and combine other non-sport components to enhance learning. These programs empower participants and communities and promote sustainability.
  3. The Whistler Adaptive Sports Program is one of the best Whistler initiatives that was given a serious boost by the 2010 Paralympic games. It is a is a not-for-profit society that provides year-around, recreational programs for people of all ages with disabilities. We are a centre for learning and sports excellence that has a local, regional, national and international clientele and encourage independence, self-confidence and self-motivation for all of our athletes and participants through outdoor recreation.

Amazing Paralympic Athletes of 2010

One of my favourite cartoons from 2010. by Raesidecartoon.com

About the author:

Meg Orlinski is a Deadly Nightshade. She is fascinated about cognitive rationality and consumer behaviour as it plays out in our constantly shifting economic reality. She also likes to dress in pretty things, ride fast bikes and have dance parties with her friends.


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