Compete Network Feature Stories

From The Skybox: A Big Birthday Year For Sports Diversity

What is sports diversity? To me, sports equality and sports diversity are slightly different. Sports equality is offering equal opportunity to all who wish to participate. Sports diversity is both about offering equal opportunity and accommodating those that may otherwise be underserved. While we certainly support and promote sports equality, our tagline does say sports diversity, a broader term.

A prime example of sports diversity plays out next month in Rio—the Paralympic Games. The vision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), governing body of the Paralympic Games, is “to enable Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.”

Sports equality would enable these athletes the opportunity to compete in sports. Sports diversity, however, accommodates special needs and allows them to compete in sports. That’s why our tagline has been specifically about diversity.

So to me, sports diversity is far more encompassing than sports equality alone. We will also see sports diversity play out this month in Austin as NAGAAA’s Gay Softball World Series (GSWS) turns 40. That means 40 years of inclusive softball.

And the GSWS isn’t alone this year in celebrating a special sports diversity birthday. The World Gay Rodeo Finals will celebrate its 30th birthday this year while less than a year ago the King’s Cross Steelers, the world’s first gay rugby team turned 20. And this month Compete Magazine turns 10. We are in some pretty impressive company!

So it is time to lift our glasses—let us acknowledge and honor the past as we celebrate the future of sports diversity.

Sport On,

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Eric Carlyle




Photo courtesy of NAGAAA archives.


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