First Future of Sport event takes place with Lord Sebastian Coe KBE and John Bertrand AO

On Thursday 10 September 2020, Loughborough University together with Victoria University hosted the first Future of Sport event in conversation with Lord Sebastian Coe KBE and John Bertrand AO.

The event speakers included Lord Sebastian Coe KBE, John Bertrand AO, Cate Campbell OAM and Montez Blair, who each discussed the impact of delaying the Tokyo Olympic Games and how significantly sport has changed and adapted in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The panel was chaired by Professor Tony Edwards, Dean of Loughborough University London, and Professor Corinne Reid, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at Victoria University.

In what should have been an Olympic year and with Olympics between them both as administrators and athletes, Lord Sebastian Coe and John Bertrand began the event exploring the Future of Sport with a focus on the Olympic Games in the current climate.

Lord Sebastian Coe KBE, Chancellor of Loughborough University, two-time gold medal-winning Olympian, President of World Athletics and an accomplished politician, said: “I think this is an opportunity for all of us, especially for sport, to lead us into a post-pandemic world.”

John Bertrand AO, the Chair of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, President of Swimming Australia, multiple world champion, Australia11 America’s Cup skipper and Olympic medallist, spoke of the effect on the Tokyo Olympic Games, saying: “The innovation that is happening is all part and parcel of this crisis we’re going through, and indeed that will feed into what we’re going to be seeing next year [at the Tokyo Olympic Games] as well. So, it’s pretty interesting times, and I think the up side I see is that these Olympics we’re going to have is something that will be very, very significant in the history of sport on a global basis.”

Lord Coe also provided advice for our students: “I know how complicated it has been for our academic teams and people like [Vice Chancellor Robert Allison] and [Vice Chancellor Peter Dawkins] to rearrange the programmes, but just bear in mind you’re actually doing exactly what the athletes are doing. You’re having to be resilient, you need to bounce back, you need to regroup, you need to gather, and you need to look down the track and recognise that we are going to come out of this and what other things that you can do to be better in 6 months and to be more competent in some of those areas than you are now and I think that the crisis that you’re living through is going to make you stronger for that.”

In the second half of the event, Cate Campbell OAM, Australian Olympic Gold Medallist, and Montez Blair, USA track athlete and Loughborough University London Alumnus joined the panel to add the athlete perspective.

Current Loughborough University London students were also given the unique opportunity to participate in the live event and put forward their questions to our expert panel of speakers. Speaking of the opportunity to attend the event, Tarryn, an MSc Sport Business and Leadership student said: “The Future of Sport Event organised by Victoria and Loughborough University was a fantastic virtual event to join. Having access to join this event as a Loughborough Sport Business student was an incredible opportunity to gain insight right at the forefront of what the current and future landscape of sport post Covid-19 entails. The event hosted a fantastic panel of speakers and was of great relevance, I am excited to see and join the series of the next events to come.”

The event builds on the partnership between Loughborough University and Victoria University and is a reflection of how the global pandemic can bring communities together, provide opportunities to innovate and bring light to new conversation.

You can re-visit the event here.

The two universities look forward to announcing the next Future of Sport event soon.