Nature

Published Articles 

From writing for the publications such as the Huffington Post and Around The Rings Magazine, to posting long-form blogs on LinkedIn, to presenting papers at sport conferences, these are a few articles I have had the privilege of sharing publicly. 

 

In 1978, the United Nations actively considered taking over the Olympic movement from the International Olympic Committee. The organization was on the brink of bankruptcy barely two years removed from Montreal, its host city for the 1976 games, which racked up $1.6 billion in debt. That same year, the only two entities interested in bidding for the ’84 games were a group of businessmen from Los Angeles and the Shah of Iran. The Shah later withdrew for obvious reasons, and the LA group, which instantly became a monopolistic supplier, had carte blanche to do what it wanted with the ’84 Olympics. LA implemented an innovative sponsorship model based on exclusivity across various categories as a means of privately funding the games, and walked away with a $233 million surplus. A year later, the IOC’s TOP (The Olympic Partnership) sponsorship program was launched, and the Olympics were on their way to financial solvency. Rule 40 is intended to keep it that way. But will it? This article reveals more than a few challenges.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is the most influential, most winning of the National Olympic Committees throughout the world. Unlike many industrialized nations, the United States does not have a Ministry of Sports, and as a result, relies almost completely on sponsorship and private donations to facilitate services to American athletes for the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan-Am, and Parapan games respectively. We examine the organizational structure of the USOC, conducting a SWOT analysis to determine how the USOC compares to the external factors, and we develop SMART goals based on the internal and external factors examined.

Eleven years ago, the top three selling mobile phones were Motorola’s Razr, Research in Motion’s Blackberry Pearl, and the Nokia 6070. Apple’s iPhone had not yet been invented (meaning there were no apps of any kind), a tablet was something you took for a headache, and Uber was an adjective in German used to convey emphasis and not people. With western Democracies reticent to commit their governments to the uncertainties of an Olympic Games whose rhetoric of rewards rarely accords with financial reality, can Los Angeles actually make it work amidst global uncertainty? Its history with the Olympic Games says it can, and it's likely, it will. This article explains how.

That the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has banned Russia (with Kenya on the brink) from sending its athletics teams to the Rio 2016 Olympics is not surprising given the incredible depth of state-sponsored drug abuse among its athletes in the case of the former, and lack of compliance in the latter. Something dramatic needed to be done, but the doping problem in sport is much bigger than Russia, and this may be a good time for the entire sporting world to conduct a forensic audit and hit reset as it tackles a global scourge. This piece examines the perils of inaction and why enforcement and compliance may be much more challenging than banning any one nation. 

In the hours following the May 27th predawn raid by Swiss authorities on a luxury hotel in Zurich where FIFA brass were gathered to presumably coronate Sepp Blatter for an unprecedented fifth term as its President, the vocabulary of football seemingly changed forever. Familiar nouns of stadiums, Ronaldo and goals were replaced by troubling adjectives: indictment, racketeering and wire fraud. The cloak of secrecy, veiling what to some is the most powerful governing body in the world, was gone forever. This article explores four issues and observations to date from the FIFA fallout.

It is easily, the most significant medal ceremony in Olympic history. On the evening of October 16, 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, victorious African American sprinters who won gold and bronze respectively, raised opposite fists in the air in a  “Black Pride” Salute, on the medal stand at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. This is my interview with Jon Carlos, where I asked him about his underlying motivation for the "Salute" as well as the role that Australian Peter Norman (far left) played in the protest. l ended by asking Carlos how he believed history would ultimately judge the most iconic sports photograph ever taken, half a century later. His response, and the entire interview, can be viewed here.

I wrote this piece for the Huffington Post, suggesting the National Basketball Association, NBA, with whom Mr. Mandela had a close working relationship, should consider honoring him by retiring the #27, which represents the number of years of his incarceration. The piece sheds light on the value Mr. Mandela had for sports, and though he used Rugby to unify his nation at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, he also opened back door channels for the NBA to develop its footprint on a continent of 1 billion potential basketball fans.​

In deference to my friends who bleed Cub Blue on the North Side of Chicago, I recognize the emotions associated with finally winning baseball’s World Series for the first time since 1908, casting aside the most unenviable record in sports. But if modern sport is as much about analytics, naming rights and classic comebacks as it is also about overcoming insurmountable odds to achieve the unimaginable, the first ever Refugee Olympic Team which made it all the way to the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro deserves to be in the conversation for Sports Persons of the Year, and it’s not even close. Here's where sport itself, is so much bigger than the game.

To suggest Atlanta was a long shot to win the bid to host the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games would grossly misstate the case even by the most hyperbolic standards. What most assumed would be a coronation of Athens (Greece) reasserting itself as the ancestral heir of the Olympic flame, resulted in mid-size city in America’s South upsetting the Hellenic capital to win rights to host the 100th anniversary of the Modern Olympics. It’s been 20 years since Atlanta hosted a rather unique Olympic festival, with opinions varying on the legacy of the Games to the city of Atlanta, and the Olympic movement in general.

From Olympic gold medalist at the 1960 Games in Rome, to his role as a diplomat in 1980 when US President Jimmy Carter’s State Department used him as an foreign envoy to garner for the US-led boycott effort of the Games in Moscow, Muhammad Ali had an uneven relationship with the Olympic games. Then in 1996 Ali came full circle to light the Olympic cauldron at the Centennial Games in Atlanta. The image of an African-American man who grew up in the racially segregated South, a man who could not be served in restaurants in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky because of his skin color, a man whose brand recognition now paralleled the same Olympic platform which launched him 50 years earlier, created the most significant moment in Olympic history. Muhammad Ali had come home. 

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Hon Tunde Papoola - Secretary Genreal

Nigeria Olympic Committee