Nanjing Peace Forum

Voices | Interviews: Chinese Youth Using Sports to Promote Global Peace

| Foreword

In 2013, the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to designate April 6 of each year as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

From the tradition of the Olympic Truce that ended the Peloponnesian War in the eighth century B.C., creating one of the most enduring peace in history, to the First World War, when British and German soldiers spent a peaceful Christmas on the battlefields in the form of soccer matches, to the revitalization of the Olympic Movement, which has become a symbol of peace that connects nations, cultures, and communities, it has become a symbol of peace. to the revival of the modern Olympic movement, which has become a global event that unites nations, cultures and hierarchies. Sport has always symbolized mankind's desire to build a world based on the principles of mutual understanding, friendship, permanence, solidarity and fair play, which are the very elements of the Olympic spirit enshrined in the Olympic Charter.

As an important constituent group of sports, young people are striving for glory as athletes, promoting fairness as organizers, broadcasting the spirit as propagandists and volunteers, also using sports as a common language to cross the gap of consciousness and achieve global integration and dialogue.

In global peace affairs, without the participation of young people under the age of 30, who make up nearly half of the world's population, it would be difficult to succeed in peacebuilding. Young people, with their invisible leadership in groups, their active creativity in projects, and their wide-ranging influence in volunteerism, are the key to the durability, inclusiveness and success of peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

For this reason, the organizing committee of the Nanjing Peace Forum "Designing for Peace" has specially planned a series of interviews on "Sport and Peace", which will show how young people are connected to sport, changed by sport, and dedicated to sport from the perspective of individual youth. The interviews will be divided into two parts. In this part (the first), we will see the promotion of local sports, special attention in the context of the Special Olympics, and their thoughts on volunteering for the Winter Olympics, and we will see how they feel about sports and peace.

| Promoting local sports is like treating the Olympic flame as a living flame.

--Lin Shiling

Member of the IOC Young Leaders Program

Beijing Winter Olympics Torchbearer

I grew up in the southern port city of Quanzhou, where many of the country's most famous sports brands are produced, which has led to a deep business atmosphere and culture in the sports industry that I have been exposed to in my life. Therefore, during my graduate studies, I chose to go abroad to further study the development of the sports industry and the promotion of sports programs. Later, I was selected for the IOC Young Leaders Program, where I worked with partners from Uganda, South Korea, Singapore, and other countries to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through sports.

Every country has its own favorite sport, and there are many other local and cultural sports, such as dragon boat rowing, spiked ball, bun snatching and so on, and this series of local and traditional sports in China is still to be explored. What we are doing now, including the promotion and popularization of the programs, the development of the athletes themselves, and the expansion of the audience, will be of great help in promoting the programs to go abroad, and will also allow the sports to promote more understanding and communication between people.

In the process of transforming local sports and cultural projects into international projects, there are many challenges to be faced in order to truly popularize, internationalize and "de-countryize" the projects: the demise and misinterpretation of the project's own culture, the dispute over the place of origin, the lack of promotion and exposure, and the lack of funds for follow-up development are all problems we need to solve. What we are trying to do now is to increase the exposure of these sports on social media platforms, so that more people can see them and start talking about them; once these sports are in the public eye and become a topic of public discussion, it means that our efforts are effective and that everything we have done is worthwhile.


In 2022, I became a torchbearer for the Beijing Winter Olympics, and in today's particular context, the organizing committee has streamlined the process, but we had a great experience as torchbearers carrying the torch. It made me think more deeply about our role - as torchbearers, we are not celebrities, but we are responsible for carrying this small flame from across the ocean and keeping it alive. I think the spirit of the Olympics is also the same, the perseverance and tenacity in sports competition, so that human civilization will move forward and upward.

| People will be inspired to be kind through sports, and special people can prove themselves through sports!

--Zhao Xiaoyue

Global Development and Government Relations Manager, Special Olympics East Asia

Because of my family, I was exposed to the disabled community and Special Olympics at a very young age. After completing my education in the United States, I also became a special education teacher. Later, I wanted to help people with special needs on a larger platform and joined Special Olympics International to work with the mentally challenged.

With Special Olympics athletes as the core, I hope to promote the general public's understanding of the mentally challenged special populations, so that they can build up their self-confidence and better integrate into the society through proper resource allocation and skill training, and realize their own values while creating social values. The society we live in should be pluralistic and integrated, and every group should be given the right to survive and live fairly in this society. All groups are equal and should promote attitudes and behaviors of mutual respect and learning from each other, which is also the core concept of inclusive leadership being promoted by Special Olympics International.


Among the people and events I have worked with, there have been many moments when I have felt that my work is meaningful. Yang Le, a "Tang baby" from Shaanxi, improved her physical fitness and self-confidence by becoming a Special Olympics athlete, and made many new friends. 18 years old, after graduating from high school, Yang Le opened a milk tea shop and a bakery with the help of herself, her family and people from all walks of life, because it is difficult for people with mental disabilities to further their education in the existing higher education system. With her and her family's efforts and the help of people from all walks of life, Yang Le opened a milk tea store and bakery, employing mostly people with mental disabilities. Last year, Yang Le also served as a torchbearer for the National Paralympics. His sunny, helpful and positive attitude has also infected more people around him.


During the 2019 Special Olympics East Asia Youth/Junior Leadership Summit in Beijing, youth, teens, and mentors from around the world, both mentally challenged and non-mentally challenged, were invited to participate. One of the activities during the summit was to climb the Great Wall, and one Special Olympics athlete from the U.S. wanted to give up due to physical reasons, but with the applause and encouragement of her mentors and partners, including some local tourists , the American girl finally finished her ascent and proudly said "I did it!" That scene is still unforgettable to me. It showed the goodness that people are inspired by sports, and people with disabilities proved themselves through sports, changing the perception of non-disabled people in an interactive scene.


In Special Olympics, the athletes' simple enjoyment of sports and their honesty and forthrightness in communication are often infectious to me. It makes me feel that Special Olympics is an inclusive platform where all people can be treated equally.

| Enjoying the Dedication Process, British Director Joins the Olympics Despite Difficulties


Beijing Winter Olympics Volunteer

As a Beijing Winter Olympics Volunteer, I worked as a photographer's assistant at the Wukesong Sports Center, guiding photographers from the five major news agencies and the participating countries to their respective photo positions and meeting their requirements during the event.


In our group was a department head from the UK who worked as a photographer during the London Olympics and is now in his 70s. Originally settled in London, he came to China despite the severe epidemic in order to participate in the shooting of the Beijing Winter Olympics. He was very enthusiastic about the whole event and often shared his Olympic volunteer experience with us at work, hoping that we could learn more about the Olympic spirit. He had difficulty with his legs and feet, and had visited the medical station many times during his work to get medication and was amazed at the magic of Yunnan Baiyao. From him we all felt his dedication to the Winter Olympics and his true enjoyment of the peaceful atmosphere that the Olympics brings.

Perhaps the very meaning of the Olympics is to allow an otherwise diverse world to share a fair event at the same time. It is only at events of this scale that we can feel the friendship and unity of people from different countries and industries communicating with each other and exchanging understanding, as well as the spirit of sportsmanship shown by the athletes in the competition for medals.

Although the international situation is turbulent and complicated, I did not feel this in the Olympic Games. Whether it was the athletes or the journalists, everyone came together in a pure and friendly way. This is the peace that I can visualize from sports.

The Winter Olympics brought me the shock of sports competition and the tolerance of the Olympic spirit. In the process, I made a lot of like-minded friends and improved my ability and passion for sports in all aspects. It was a very precious experience for me and will continue to push me to grow in the years to come.

| The Winter Olympic Village is like a utopia!


Winter Olympic Volunteer

I was a chaperone at the doping control station. Doping control is divided into several parts, and my job at that time was to go outside the station to find the athletes and notify them. Because doping control involves the purity of competitive sports, every step must follow the procedure strictly, and any improper operation will affect the result of the doping control. In the process of bringing the athlete to the testing station, we need to follow many rules, such as not touching his things. If these rules are violated, and if the athlete tests positive later, the misconduct may be a reason for not being able to characterize the athlete.

Because we spot check athletes at particular times, it could be at 6 or 7 in the morning or at night. Many athletes are woken up from their sleep or have just finished training, they may be very tired or have not eaten before going to the test. These are actually quite disruptive to the daily rhythm, but each and every one of them treated us very well and respected the work of doping control. This incident also reflects the respect and recognition of "fair competition".


In the Plaza area, where people from all over the world can communicate with each other, we will meet journalists, athletes and their accompanying teams from different countries, and all of them will communicate with each other in a very positive way. We would introduce them to the local customs and special venues in Beijing and talk about our experience in the Winter Olympic Village. Although we don't know each other very well, everyone is very easy-going and friendly, and we can communicate without any burden, which is a very good atmosphere.


People involved in the Winter Olympics have a culture of exchanging pins (badges). We collect a lot of different pins by exchanging each other's unique pins, but what's more important than the pins is the meaning of each one. It may represent a story between me and an athlete from that country, or a memory of the Winter Olympics.

The Winter Olympic Village is like a utopia, and because of the epidemic, it needs to be managed in a closed loop. This physical isolation somehow enhances the utopian atmosphere of the Village, allowing us to forget the worries and anxieties of the outside world, and to enjoy the pure joy of sports, with sincere and friendly interactions and mutual support.

| The Olympic spirit moves me the most when people from different countries work together and move forward in a common direction!

--Small Seven

Volunteer of Japanese Language Service for Winter Olympics at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU)

I mainly work in the language service department of Shougang Ski Jumping Stadium, providing necessary translation and communication services to foreign media and athletes during interviews during the games.


Sports activities transcend nationalities and backgrounds, even if there is a language barrier, it is very inclusive for all people to be able to treat each other as equals under one thing, or to go out on a field and perform at their best.

During the competition, the competitors communicate with each other, promote each other, and understand each other; we, as volunteers, collaborate with people from different countries, with the same purpose, and move forward in a common direction. This is the Olympic Spirit that I understand can bring the greatest touch to everyone, even those who don't do sports. If everyone could feel such a spirit, it would be a great contribution to peace and prosperity in the world.

Sports are more about equality than some other activities, it is a process of everyone going beyond themselves at the same starting line, inspiring and promoting each other.

In the competition where Gu Ailing won gold in the Shougang Grand Pole Vault, France's Tess was the first to complete a two-week off-axis turn of 1620, and we all thought she would win at the time. However, she regrettably missed in the third jump, and Gu Ailing surpassed the score with her two-week cartwheel 1620 and won the championship.

During the interview, a reporter asked Ailing how she evaluated the competition, and I was impressed by her answer. She said that her victory should also have a part belonging to Tess, because when she started to train the big jump, the development of this program was very difficult, and very few people were going to devote themselves to this sport, and she felt that it was very encouraging for her to have someone to do this sport together. She said that when Tess jumped 1620, she herself was infected by this spirit of transcendence to complete the challenge for herself.


I believe that the spirit of equal competition, self-transcendence and friendship across national boundaries that they have demonstrated in this event is the spirit of peace that sporting events can embody.

| Preview

From the early days of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the time when they became an important support force, university student volunteers for the Winter Olympics, as the largest group of volunteers for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, have touched every detail with their capillary-like role, and in each of their communication and transmission, the understanding between countries has been enhanced. In the next part of the interview for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we will show the work of different Winter Olympic volunteers, presenting "Together for the Future" from different perspectives.

2024-03-13 04:26:20

No. 41, Beijing East Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing

Nanjing China