Let’s celebrate sport as we wait for its big comeback

What would life be without sport? This pandemic has given us all a taste. During this year of confinement, players and fans around the world have had to do without it. Millions are itching to return to playing with or cheering on their teams in person. Let’s hope it won’t be long now.

So, let’s celebrate sport as we wait for its big comeback. Today we mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. It’s an opportunity to recognize the role of sport in our lives and think about how it can help us build back better after the pandemic.

Let’s celebrate sport for all the benefits it brings us. Beyond physical and psychological well-being, sport brings us togetherness, uniting us regardless of identity, background, or ability. It brings us insights about fairness, team building, equality and inclusion. It makes us resilient.

Sport has the power to turn lives around. It can help keep young people on the right track, empowers the vulnerable and gives them a safe space to learn. For some, it can be a lifeline to a viable, peaceful future. See the UN guide to how sport can help prevent violent extremism.

These benefits have been lost to many during the pandemic. Recreational sport has largely come to a standstill, while fans are missing the solidarity and connection of cheering together as professional sport and tournaments were interrupted.

The economic hit has been substantial. Tournaments have been cancelled or postponed and far fewer, if any, fans have been allowed into stadiums. The loss of income has also hit small vendors relying on sporting events and organizations that compete in and manage tournaments.

We know sport is resilient. We know it will return to our lives some day soon. Now that we have the vaccines, we can all work to bring that day closer. Together, if we level the global playing field, we can bring an end to this pandemic and get back to sport and all the things we love.

To do that safely, we need to make sure the whole world is protected with a vaccine. Last month, the UN launched a global campaign, #OnlyTogether, to support our call for fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

In that spirit, we want you to mark International Sport Day by sharing a picture or video online that sums up what sport means to you. Using the hashtags #SportDay and #OnlyTogether, join us in demanding equal access to vaccines to bring the joy of sport back into all our lives.

Chief Communicator #UnitedNations promoting a peaceful, sustainable, just & humane world. Author: A Hope More Powerful than the Sea. Podcast: Awake at Night.

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