Sport, geopolitics and Russia. A short history
William Shankly, the legendary coach of the Liverpool Football Club, was known for saying that football mattered more than life itself. If such words can be articulated about football in particular what can be said about sport in general? The role that sport plays in society has been recognised since ancient times. The Romans believed, in the words of the ancient Roman poet Juvenal, that people are only interested in “bread and circuses”. Those “circuses” became an integral part of social and political life throughout the ages. Yet it was in the second half of the 20th century, and the rise of television, when sporting events became entertainment for the masses. During the Cold War, sport competition became a part of international rivalry, pitting one ideology against another.