Sport is an important marker of our country's culture and identity. Citizens within a country will cheer and support their sport teams if they are successful, or criticize and judge if they are doing poorly. The importance of culture within sport is an important indicator of a country's success or failure within international competitions; such as the Olympics and World Championships. However, can culture shape the identity of a sport within a country?
Lifesaving is a vital aspect of a country's swim program, as it focuses on reducing injury and death in, on, or around the water. Within Lifesaving, there has been a creation of a sport called Lifesaving Sport, which focuses on youth leadership, participation, and sport development. The creation of this sport became to fruition due to the focus on improving a lifesaver or lifeguard skills through simulated emergency response sporting activities.
In Australia, Lifesaving Sport is ranked as one of the top participation sports within the country with more than 10,000 competitors competing at their National Championships; the number of competitors is more than that of the Commonwealth Games. WIthin this country the sport has secured corporate sponsors, their major competitions are live on free-to-air television, they have partnerships with government sport agencies such as the Australian Sport Commission (ASC) and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), the operations of the sport is being run by professional employees. In Canada, there is no accurate statistics on the participation rate within the sport as there have been no implementation of a statistical program to measure it, it is stipulated in the constitution of the sport's National Sport Organization (NSO) that only volunteers are allow to manage the sport. There is minimum media coverage, and Sport Canada, the Canadian government sport funding agency, does not recognize Lifesaving Sport as a sport.
The purpose of the research is to see if a framework can be created on the variables of identity and culture, and to significantly come up with a definable answer if culture can shape a sport identity to make it more popular or decrease its popularity. This research is on-going and shows an interesting parallel of the differences of the same sport within two different countries. Through preliminary research, the culture has been a main indicator as to why there are differences. The research is aim to focus on: How important is culture within sport and physical activity and to NSOs? Can we measure the correlation of culture and the identity of the sport? Can we use culture to shape a sport identity to make it more popular?
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/winstonwinghongto/2/