Where do I begin …
When the 2019–2020 academic year started, I don’t think we had any idea how dramatically our lives would change in the months that lay ahead. Our theme year focus of Sport and the Body was leading us down our usual path of uncovering new insights and sharing what we learned with wider audiences, all with the hope of using sport to make the world a better place.
As spring rolled around, we were making plans around the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, going about our normal daily routines, as we should. Designs were in motion for the relaunch of our Global Sport Matters multimedia website and we were finalizing details for the third annual Global Sport Summit, to be held in early April.
We, like all of you, had to drastically shift our priorities when the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our world. In a strange twist of fate, we found ourselves uniquely positioned to respond to the crisis thanks to a number of factors working in our favor: Arizona State University faculty and staff were already well versed on the Zoom video conferencing platform, which had been implemented university-wide many months before; we had been preparing to launch several new online multimedia channels, which soon proved to be ideal for reaching a global audience; and we had a diverse, tech-savvy, responsive staff eager to take on new challenges.
To use a sporting metaphor, I think we knocked it out of the park. As sporting events at every level shut down across the globe, we brought together researchers, athletes, coaches, professionals, and other subject matter experts to weigh in on the wide-ranging and ever-changing impacts. When the conversation shifted as a result of the shocking deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others, we not only looked back at our past research on the intersection of race and sport but also began new conversations about how this pivotal moment could have a lasting impact. You can read more about our Sports Equity Research Project in our Annual Report. As a whole, I couldn’t be more proud of the work my team has put out through this unprecedented time in our history.
My hope, in closing, is that we continue to disseminate this meaningful work. That we continue to utilize the technology channels that have emerged to reach even more people than we had initially imagined, around the globe. As always, we are open for your ideas on what other impactful work we can deliver related to sport.
Kenneth L. Shropshire CEO
Global Sport Institute
adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport
This letter was originally published in our Global Sport Institute Annual Report.