The relationship between sport and art


Sport and art seem to be very different disciplines. Is there any connection between them?

When being young, Roald Bradstock had an interest in both sport and art. Later, he became an Olympic javelin thrower, who represented Great Britain in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, and also gained a degree in art. However, he explained that these activities were very different and not very compatible on day two of the Peace and Sports Forum in Monaco

This lack of compatibility of these activities caused him some difficulties. He spent years struggling with being both an athlete and an artist – both two disciplines take a lot of time and energy.

However, that has changed now. Nicknamed as “the Olympic Picasso”, Roald Bradstock produces creative colorful representations of equipment and depictions of sporting scenes.

His attitude changed around the year 2000 when he took part in a competition held by the United States Olympic Committee. “Struggle for Perfection”, his painting, was chosen as the winner and then featured in the Olympic Museum in Switzerland.

He did more research and discovered that co-founder of the modern Olympic Games Pierre de Coubertin was an artist. Coubertin himself designed the Olympic rings and also won a poetry competition in 1912.

Mark Spitz, nine-time Olympic swimming champion, one of Bradstock’s idols, was a painter. Muhammed Ali and Pele used to paint, too.

You could find further connections between sport and art if you look at major sporting events. Tickets are sold not only for the sporting events themselves but also for the opening and closing ceremonies. For example, the Super Bowl contains a heavily anticipated half-time show.

Bradstock realized that art is everywhere in sport – logos, mascots, typography, medals, and cups – all have to be designed by someone. These discoveries changed his viewpoint and he started to combine sport and art in his life.

He painted his outfits, javelins and javelin runways. He threw all kinds of objects and broke some records – “some official, some unofficial and some highly questionable”. He became famous for his eccentric outfits that people started to want to know what he would wear, do, and throw next.

Now, he believes that sport and art are perfect partners. They can be a powerful combination to be used in advocacy and development programmes.

“Combining sport and art in a new way is a fantastic tool. They are two universal languages to create platform to unite everyone for peace.”