Harnessing the power of the Olympic Spirit

Designers: Tamara Brophy, Buffy Cope, Anima Dorante, Yang Ke, Gemma Parkinson, Mercia Stolz, Nicole Toldi, Emily Watkins, Ruiting Xiao

Tutor: David Sargent

Subject: Design Futures Workshop

Date: 15 Aug, 2012

In Semester 2, 2012 all design students from all year levels and all disciplines were tasked with the ambitious challenge of creating strategies for a futural Olympics in a two day workshop. The students proved to be up to the challenge and this solution was one of many presented back to the student body and faculty.

This group of students identified the massive desire nations and their populations shared in having representives compete and do well at the Olympic games. They theorised that they could harness this desire and redirect it towards more ambitious and world-changing goals. What if there were additional goals to be met by nations before they were eligible to compete? How far would nations go to be included? How much more collaboration and cooperation would be created by all nations having to pull together for a common goal?

Excerpts from the group presentation:

Where else does such an opportunity to inform and challenge people over time exist? Here is the world’s resources combined for a unified goal, surely this could be harnessed for a greater contribution than De Coubertin originally saw.

Our proposal is that at the beginning of the four-year run up to the games, the IOC, in consultation with the UN, will come up with a specific world issue to address. The global issue will be something that the UN deems as currently having massive negative impact on the world. It might be something like climate change, international terrorism, poverty, malaria or aids. This will be presented to the nations of the world and a number of goals will be set up in relation to this issue.

The world will be given the objective to achieve these goals by the next Olympic games.

Each country will be asked to contribute to these goals. If any nation fails or refuses to meet these goals they will not be granted a place at the next games. Countries will be given individual goals in relation to their nation’s wealth. So, the wealthier the nation, the bigger the goals.

An advantage of this scheme is that it utilises the public sphere as a motivator for national governments. Another advantage of this scheme is that it transcends nationalism, by uniting the world in pursuit of a common goal. As a result of this system, athletes become spokespeople for a global issue. Their hero status and marketing potential are utilised for more than just selling products.

on 29/11/12
Tristan said:
Clean and concise idea, presented in a clean little infographic. There are of course many complexities, one being the effectiveness of the UN in making such decisions as a 'united body' when we know the world is made up of many problems of which can only be dealt with within and by their own localities. Keeping this in mind when constructing a template for a project like this might frame some openings for a change agent event...