If you want an example of Why Sport Matters in a country, check out Australia. While much of the world is typically dominated by one major sport, Australia has an incredible breadth of sport to take in, both as a participant and a spectator. It is too hard to explain it all in this blog.
Let’s start with the football “codes” as they are referred to in Oz.
To understand Hong Kong, you must understand its history.
In the 19th century, this small island just off the coast of mainland China became a British colony (starting out as trading outpost), and remained so for a century until it was handed back to Chinese rule in the mid 1990s (as a modern city and a capital of Asian finance). Hong Kong therefore has a strong identity and link to Britain. At the same time, most of its citizens are of Chinese origin (especially from Cantonese region of southern China) which also gives it an unmistakable Chinese flavour. And though technically under the rule of mainland China, Hong Kong maintains independent self-government under a “one country/two systems” structure.
This unique identity is reflected in Hong Kong sport, and Why Sport Matters visited this tropical island to check it out.
It was a long time in the making, but the first ever football World Cup was finally held in Africa. And the host country should be proud – well done to South Africa!
Why Sport Matters returned to South Africa, but this time with a different assignment — producing video reports for MLSSoccer.com as well as video fan research interviews. Click HERE to see all of John’s reports which appeared on Major League Soccer’s website.
The week leading up to the 11 June opening match saw a festive atmosphere throughout the country. The yellow colours of the Bafana Bafana (South African national team) were seen everywhere and hum from the celebrated vuvuzelas could be heard at all hours. Hope and happiness helped put the South Africans in a party mood, and it was incredible to see the rainbow nation finally coming together as one. Spirits were still high following the opening draw with Mexico. Why Sport Matters was at the heart of this passion at the official FanFest in Johannesburg and celebrated alongside about 10,000 South Africans (see video).
Kia Ora from New Zealand! Many times in this small island nation of 4 million people we heard the expression that New Zealand “punches above its weight” when it comes to sporting achievement. And it’s true.
Most people will associate New Zealand with its national passion of rugby, which indeed dominates the sport scene. The national team is the All Blacks, which have one of the highest winning/success rates in any team in sport, and are always a feared opponent on the rugby pitch. This is felt even more when they perform the inspiring war chant — the “Haka” — at the beginning of every match. Check out this funny YOUTUBE VIDEO we filmed at the rugby museum in Palmerston North.
The first stop in the South Pacific region for the Why Sport Matters journey was Samoa, a small Polynesian island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (more or less half-way between Hawaii and New Zealand). In this tropical paradise, they do things the Samoan Way, or Fa’a Samoa, and this is reflected in their sport culture. With a total population of less than 200,000, Samoans have a great passion and a proven ability in a wide variety of sport.
The national sport in Samoa is clearly rugby — and you cannot be in this country without seeing the effects of it, as they have remarkable international success for such a small country. At this time, Samoa is currently the #1 ranked team in the world for Rugby Sevens, having won the previous three tournaments in the Sevens World Series Circuit. Interest in the sport is sure to keep growing thanks to the IOC’s decision to add it as an Olympic sport, and it will get its big debut in the Rio 2016 Games.