Advancing from division 6

Returning home after two days on the road. All the way to the west coast of Sweden. Chalmers Technological University hosted two days, fully loaded with Sports Tech. At the same time, the school celebrated the first 10 years in the field. From the early steps taken, Sports Tech is now an established part of what this distinguished university does. And they do it well.

At the same time, when reflecting, I cannot help thinking that what I have experienced over these two days is very similar to the status of a large part of Swedish sport. People give of their time and go out of their way to help and support. In fact, when asked for key factors supporting their career many athletes say that it is the people along the way, in very few ways acting in a professional capacity, that have meant the most for their development as an athlete. The researchers that I meet at Chalmers are just like those people. They have a ”proper job” on the side. Often doing research that is important to the car industry or the shipping. Or some other major industry. But whenever they get a chance, they turn to sport. Maybe because that is where they would rather be. And we, in sport, owe them greatly for it.

In my presentation about #elitesports2030 at the conference, I spoke about strong institutes where research and sport meet. Such as the English Institute of sport, or the Australian equivalent. The funding that is put into these establishments makes our efforts look as if we are playing in the 6th division. And then we try to compete in the Champions league. However, I also said in my presentation, that president Obama said, that we are punching above our weight. One of the reasons for that is that we do like the stretched out, helping hand. And we like to extend it.

Now is the time to use those helping hands to increase the funding. The funding that is put into sports, elite sports and the research that helps develop it. Sport has the power to change the world, Nelson Mandela said. I think there has never been a better time, or a bigger need, for that!


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