“Sport is under-exploited as a solution to our social problems”

Tribune. The expression “to make France a sporting nation” has imposed itself with force in political discourse. The last speech of Emmanuel Macron at the reception of the medalists of the Olympic Games in Tokyo testifies to this. Beyond the formula, simple and catchy, what can it, should it be used for? Whose ? And with what means?

While the page of the Tokyo Paralympic Games has been turned, a period is now beginning when France will be constantly in the spotlight.

In addition to the traditional major annual sporting events (Tour de France, Roland-Garros), our country will also host several of the biggest international sporting events in the coming years: the Ski World Cup finals in Courchevel (2022), the Men’s Rugby World Cup (2023) and the Paris Olympics and Paralympics (2024).

Sport is underexploited as a solution to our social problems, especially in terms of education and living together

The organization of these competitions – and the candidacy for it – is part of one of the defined axes of French sports diplomacy officially developed since 2013. Although essential, this axis should not obscure the other reflections to be made on sport in France.

Sport is indeed underexploited as a solution to our social problems, particularly in terms of education and living together. Physical activity can be a great learning tool and contribute to the development of social skills. It is also necessary to use it wisely, to stop thinking that sport has intrinsic positive values ​​within it, and to promote the practices which have proved their worth in the field.

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On the occasion of the major sporting events to come on the territory, the lights will be shone on the performances of the athletes. The Covid-19 has shed light on the role of many “chore firsts” without whom society cannot function. It would mean not forgetting or neglecting the “army” of volunteers and professionals who use sport on a daily basis to serve the common good.

The essential is played out and will play out there, in schools, clubs, extracurricular systems and social centers: start by recognizing and supporting each of its actors – teachers, educators, coaches, animators, etc. – will largely determine the role of sport and its real social impact tomorrow.

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