Authenticity, Muhammad Ali and the power of sport
The word authenticity is being thrown around a bit casually these days, a trending “buzz word” in the urban vernacular. We hear people make statements such as, “I am just being me” when they choose to act certain ways or express their opinions.
But in the rush to use the term too cavalierly, let’s not lose the deeper meaning of the word, and in turn, the impact a truly authentic person can make. That person whose life we reflect on today is Muhammad Ali and his passing gives us reason to examine the authentic life of a sporting icon who personified the meaning of the power of sport.
“Thinking of #Muhammad Ali and remembering a man who was not afraid to take a stand and who was committed to being his authentic self.” - Billie Jean King
Authenticity means that you are looking to make a real impact and develop deeper relationships to advance social and community change. Authenticity allows us to build meaningful relationships when we engage with communities around the world. Through authenticity we can move beyond lip service and one-time appearances, and create sustainable relationships that make a difference in the world.
Authenticity in sport means that you demand and work to foster a safe and supportive environment to realise your true self while helping others in your sporting realm including teammates, coaches, and sport administrators do the same. Authenticity in sport means that you can express yourself and share your ideas and beliefs with the world. This is how Muhammad Ali lived.
“Muhammad Ali was known as “the Greatest” not just because of his three World Heavyweight titles, but because he fought some of his fiercest battles outside the boxing ring, on the side of the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and the disadvantaged. Muhammad Ali will continue to inspire generations to come to take up the fight against prejudice, injustice and discrimination. This, perhaps, will be his greatest legacy.” - Kofi Annan
Through his authenticity, Muhammad Ali was able to activate the power of sport. He recognised his platform and brought authenticity to his message and his actions. We need to encourage more authenticity in sport. Muhammad Ali will continue to be a guiding light for the world both in and out of sport. He is an example for athletes and non-athletes alike. Speaking truth to power as Ali so eloquently did, should be hailed and celebrated.