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To achieve our vision of making a positive impact on the global sport community, we must dig deeper into the critical issues affecting sport today and in the future – placing scholarly research at the core of nearly everything we do. We are unique in that our work spans across the entirety of Arizona State University.
As an interdisciplinary institute operating independently of any specific college within ASU, we have the opportunity to support a variety of sport-focused research interests that contribute to our overall goals. We do this through our own research efforts and by providing grants to researchers in individual disciplines.
Each academic year, the Global Sport Institute identifies an annual theme centered on a critical issue impacting sport. This theme is integrated into our research, events, multimedia content, and more. Our purpose here is to build a deeper, broader understanding of a single topic, examining it from several perspectives and sharing our findings through a variety of avenues.
At the most basic level, the body is where sports performance begins. Now more than ever, athletes can fine-tune their bodies to maximize performance in ways that were once unimaginable. Beyond its relation to athletic performance, the outward perception of the body itself has come under more scrutiny within a sporting context. Topics include the diversity of athletic bodies, adaptive sport, gender identity and representation within sport, body image, athlete mental health, genetic testing, and more.
Sport and race have historically walked hand-in-hand, both on the field and off, at all levels of competition. The goal of this research theme is to examine the role that race plays in sport, within a variety of contexts. Topics include race-based perspectives toward sports participation, the role that race may play in access to sports, fan behavior toward players of different races, underrepresentation within coaching ranks and team ownership, teams’ uses of Native American names and images, and on.
For our first annual theme the Institute examined what’s ahead for sport, with a goal to formulate a progressive vision for what the future of sport could and should look like. Why focus on 2036? The date will mark the beginning of the Institute’s 20th year, but more importantly, the 100-year anniversary of Jesse Owens’ remarkable 1936 Summer Olympics victories in Berlin, achieved while using track spikes that were hand-crafted by adidas founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler. What other innovations lie ahead?