Isn’t it amazing how sports create joy and unite people – and how technology can help?

As Haris Seferovic, whose family immigrated from Bosnia Hercegovina to Switzerland in the late 1980s, scored the winning goal in Switzerland’s 2-1 victory against Ecuador, I heard, here in Zürich, loud yells of excitement from cars and homes – many of which were beautifully decorated with colourful flowers, Swiss flags and flags of other nations. People shouted “Hopp Schwiiz” cheering on the Swiss national football team. At that moment, which was indeed full of positive emotions, I saw an elderly woman walk past with her dog. As we got eye contact, we both smiled. I came to think of this moment of joy, as I later on listened to this 2 minute video and this 1 minute video in which United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon – in the first video – and Mr. Nelson Mandela – in the second video – both talk about the powerful ability that sports  have to unite people.

 

Technology / media – including social media – can indeed contribute to creating these feelings of joy and unity around the world. A few examples:

  • Studying this visualization that I came across via this tweet by Open Data Zurich, I noticed that quite a lot of players on many participating teams at the world cup in Brazil have parents or grandparents who come from other countries than the country for which the respective players play during the tournament.
  • I have been fascinated about the technological innovation at this year’s world cup. This posting that I came across through this tweet by Paul Sloane sums up quite well, I think, some of the value adding innovations. For example, I find the goal line technology useful – a technology that reminds me a bit about the hawk eye technology used at tennis tournaments. Also, I like the vanishing spray that umpires can use, for example at free kicks, to keep players at the required distance from the ball and to define the correct placement of the ball.
  • A visit to the creatively made Google doodles of the world cup is also worth it. My favourite is world cup doodle # 15 – perhaps because I recall that I in my childhood spent hundreds of hours kicking a ball against walls. To see the other world cup 2014 doodles, simple change the last character in the url to another number, for example 1, 2, 3 etc. Or simply click on the arrows pointing to the right or left.

 

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