Sport is what it means to be human


April 6, 2022
Sport is what it means to be human
Fijian athletes Matelita Buadromo (Olympian, Swimming) and Banuve Tabakaucoro (Olympian, Athletics) led the Terre de Jeux Relay, kickstarting it for what is a global 24-hour relay marking the start to PARIS 2024 campaign on 6 April, International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. | Photo: ONOC / Shivneel Narayan

Sport is part of human culture. Sport is part of human development. Sport is part of peace – the core element of building human society. Sport is play, respect, fairness, excellence, integrity, the return to failed pursuits, over and over again, until victory is won.

And in this regard, sport is what it means to be human.

As President of the Oceania National Olympic, I was very pleased to join Ambassador Francois-Xavier Leger, French ambassador to Fiji, this morning.

In the last hour or so, we have kickstarted a 24-hour TERRE DE JEUX 2024 RELAY which will link the world in a 24-hour celebration of sport globally.

This year marks the 126th year of the inaugural Modern Olympics established by Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin and held in Athens in 1896.

The world has been gifted this global celebration of sport every two years celebrating this global event through the hosting of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games

The IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Programme shared with National Olympic Committees and International Federations contributes to the human development of sport throughout the world.

This contribution has had a profound positive impact on human health, gender equality, employment, livelihoods, capital infrastructure development, and broad social, cultural, and economic development in all regions of the world.

The theme for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is “Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport.”

With the 126-year legacy of Pierre de Coubertin and the work of successive leaders and sport leaders at the International Olympic Committee and in every NOC of the world, sport has consistently contributed to the advancement of human rights and sustainable development, solidarity, and respect for all.

Dr Robin Mitchell, ONOC President and ANOC Acting President addressing athletes and participants at IDSDP 2022 in Suva, Fiji. | Photo: ONOC / Shivneel Narayan

I am also pleased to share that all our members in Oceania and ANOC are now preparing for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris which will connect us with athletes from around the world in two years’ time.  

Human friendship and cooperation lead to the possibility of shared dreams and visions.

What improves our ability to recognise our similarities, our humanity, is better able to shed our differences to allow our working together.

We currently recognise, in the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic, that sport is already recognised by the United Nations as a key tool for the recovery of national economies – contributing to both human health and economic health.

The United Nations had already recognised the contribution of sport as an enabler to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In Oceania, as we work toward the BLUE PACIFIC STRATEGY 2050, which our Pacific Islands leaders will be endorsing at their next Leaders’ Forum, sport remains one of the important vehicles for enabling sustainable development.

Ambassador Sujiro Seam, European Union ambassador to the Pacific and to Fiji, and Ambassador Francois-Xavier Leger, French ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Nauru, and Tuvalu running at the Terre de Jeux Relay marking IDSDP 2022 and the start of the campaign to PARIS 2024 in Fijian capital, Suva. | Photo: ONOC / Shivneel Narayan

Sport is a core element of culture – our ability to play together – removes barriers and fosters peace that can lead to better societies.

And strong societies that value respect, fair play, and integrity are better placed to work together to advance solutions to problems that arise from time to time.

Our celebration of today’s TERRE DE JEUX 2024 RELAY, our commemoration of Pierre de Coubertin and his legacy to sport, culture and humanity, our recognition of our friendship, and our working together towards PARIS 2024 is a celebration of our contribution to our joint human development.

Within ONOC, we will continue to share IDSDP messages throughout the month and we invite you to subscribe to our newsletters to receive all our updates.

May we continue to strive for peace.