Sports Diplomacy and the 2012 London Olympics

CPD Conversations in Public Diplomacy

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy and the British Consulate–General in Los Angeles were pleased to host a conversation about the role of sports diplomacy in 2012. In hosting the games, London contributed to the branding of GREAT Britain and to ambitious economic development.

Sports have always had a place at the diplomatic table. From the beginning of the Olympics to today’s events that highlight individual and team achievement, the games have provided deeper understanding of how nations and individuals relate to the global community. While the time and dedication each athlete gave to his or her sport captured the world’s admiring attention, the Olympics also allowed us to peer into the lives and cultures of 204 participating countries.

Participants included British Consul-General Dame Barbara Hay, CPD Advisory Board Member, Barry A. Sanders, USC students and Olympic athletes Flóra Bolonyai, James Clark, and Stina Gardell, and CPD Director, Philip Seib (moderator).

To read the event write-up in the USC Daily Trojan, please click here.

About Dame Barbara Hay
Barbara Hay took up her appointment as HM Consul-General in Los Angeles at the end of July 2009. Prior to that, Barbara was HM Consul-General in Istanbul, where she arrived in early 2004 following the tragic terrorist attack in November 2003. From her base in Istanbul, Turkey’s business and commercial centre, she was also Director of UK Trade and Investment across Turkey, working with the commercial teams in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Since joining the Diplomatic Service in 1971, Barbara has spent much of her overseas career in the former Soviet Union, serving there five times in all - and in every decade since her first tour of duty in Moscow in the mid-1970s. Barbara has also worked in South Africa and Canada as well as in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

About Barry A. Sanders
Barry Sanders is President of the Board of Commissioners of the Recreation and Parks Department of the City of Los Angeles, Chairman of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation and immediate past President of the Board of Commissioners of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Sanders is Chairman of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games. This organization is independent from the United States Olympic Committee and has been engaged in promoting the Olympic Movement since 1939. As Chairman, he led the effort to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In September 2007 he received the Olympic Spirit Award from the United States Olympic Committee and the William May Garland Award from the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games. He served on the Board of Special Olympics of California. He is now a Director of the Los Angeles Sports Council and of the Los Angeles Sports Council Foundation. He serves as an arbitrator at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport. Sanders’ community service career spans many subjects. In early 1992, he served as executive editor and general counsel to the California Council on Competitiveness. From 1979 to 1984, he served as primary outside counsel to the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. He is also an adjunct professor in the Communications Studies Department at UCLA. He teaches courses entitled “The Images of America around the World,” “Public Diplomacy,” and “Architecture as Non-Verbal Communication.” Click here to read more.

About Flóra Bolonyai
A two-time All-American water polo athlete already after her first two seasons at USC, Flora Bolonyai is a first-time Olympian as she helped Hungary qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in reaching the semifinals of April's qualification tournament. In her sophomore season at USC, Bolonyai helped lead the Trojans to the 2012 NCAA title match. She averaged 10.1 saves per game for USC at the MPSF and NCAA tournaments as she picked up honors on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team and All-MPSF Second Team. Bolonyai is a member of the Hungarian National Team, and in 2011 she won silver with Hungary at the 2011 Junior World Championships in Italy.

About James Clark
Australian Olympian James Clark enters his first season at USC in 2012 majoring in sociology. Clark participated in the 2012 London Olympics as a member of the Australian National Water Polo Team and helped Australia to seventh place at the 2012 Olympic Games and second place at the 2011 Pan Pacific Games. He also competed at the 2009 and 2011 Junior World Championships, with ninth- and fourth-place finishes, respectively. He studied for two years at University of Western Sydney after graduating from Newington College in Stanmore, New South Wales.

About Stina Gardell
Stina Gardell, a 2012 sophomore, is a top-flight medley swimmer who is also strong in the breast. In the 2012 London Olympics she competed in both the 200m and 400m individual medly (IM). Originally from Sweden, she has a wealth of international experience and should score heavily at the Pac-12 Championships while vying for All-American honors as well. Gardell earned All-America honors at the 2011 NCAAs as part of USC's eighth-place 800y free relay. After joining the Trojans in the spring semester in 2011, and catching up in training, Gardell had a stellar February. In Troy's final dual meet of the season against UCLA, the freshman helped USC beat the Bruins with a dominating win in the 400y IM. At the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, Gardell was a three-time finalist. At USC, Stina is working on her undergraduate degree majoring in social science and communications.

About Philip Seib
Philip Seib is Director of the Center on Public Diplomacy as well as Professor of Journalism, Public Diplomacy, and International Relations at the University of Southern California. He is author or editor of numerous books such as: Headline Diplomacy, The Global Journalist, Beyond the Front Lines, Broadcasts from the Blitz, New Media and the New Middle East, The Al Jazeera Effect, Global Terrorism and New Media, Al Jazeera English, and Real-Time Diplomacy. He is editor of the Palgrave Macmillan Series in International Political Communication and co-editor of both the Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy and the journal Media, War, and Conflict.


Visit CPD's Online Library

Explore CPD's vast online database featuring the latest books, articles, speeches and information on international organizations dedicated to public diplomacy.