4 Moments When Sports Changed the World
June 30, 2022
Sports are a reflection of economics and culture and transcend societal differences. Whatever is happening in our society, you can be sure that somewhere, a sportsperson is using their platform to make a statement on the topic, often to great effect. Here are the sports moments that changed the world.
The Christmas Truce Football Match
One of the most mythologized events of the First World War, the Christmas Truce is a perfect example of sports bringing people together. It made sworn enemies become friendly rivals, even if for a moment. Late on Christmas Eve, 1914, British soldiers heard German troops in the trenches opposite them singing Christmas carols and lighting up decorations. After shouting messages to each other, the two sides met in no man's land the following day, where they exchanged gifts and played a game of football. This magical moment of sporting solidarity was a glimmer of light in an otherwise horrific period in time. The truce was short-lived, with the football-playing soldiers returning to their battle stations soon after.
Jessie Owens Spoils Hitler's Games
Hitler wanted to use the summer's Berlin Olympic Games as a show of Germans force and Aryan superiority. But African-American sprinter Jessie Owens had another idea. Owens won gold in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and the long jump, setting three world records in the process and humiliating Hitler in front of his home crowd.
Rugby Unites South Africa
The 1995 Rugby World Cup was the first major sporting event to be held in South Africa following the end of apartheid. The Springboks, South Africa's national team, had been banned from previous tournaments because of government policy, but after Nelson Mandela dismantled the policy, the hosts were free to play. The Springboks made it to the final, where they managed to defeat the New Zealand All Blacks beautifully.
India's Cricket Team Tours Pakistan
After years of conflict between the two countries, India embarked on a Test match tour of Pakistan in 2004. The tension between the two South Asian countries has been very high ever since Pakistan was carved out of an area of India by the British after the Second World War, which lead to decades of rioting, mass killings, and even genocide. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, the former cricketer Imran Khan, welcomed the tour, saying that it transcends sport.