Monday, 6 June 2011

Polyglots in Sports

Who says a career in sports is for the not-so-brights?? Think again!

Do you follow tennis? Yesterday, I watched the finals of the French Opens between two extremely  phenomenal players, whilst they battled it out for the cup. Apart from the fact that it was a lovely game (as always), the acceptance speeches are what struck me the most.
(For those of you who missed this, Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer to win his 6th French Open title. Scores were 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1)

The eloquence of Roger Federer - a known multi-linguist - speaking such fluent French without faltering. The confidence of Rafael Nadal - fluent in Spanish and English - choosing to end his speech in French (and it wasn't half-bad too!). The commentators echoed my thoughts with the remark (7m:28s),' You don't think this is a global sport?! 3 languages in one speech!'

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A huge number of people speak just one language and many struggle with getting it right, in that one language. Tenses are all mixed up, and words are generally used in the wrong context, causing listeners to stare in utter confusion and bewilderment!

On the other hand, there is an increasing number of sportsmen who are proving themselves to be multi-lingual. You find sportsmen playing all over the world, in numerous sports, in different countries, miles away from their birth countries, switching from their native language to their host country's language, effortlessly. Gone are the days of sportsmen being full of brawn and very little brain!

I wonder if you could attribute this to the global spread of sports (and interest in it), suggesting that if you want to excel, you need to connect with your audience? So, it's no longer just about the sport you play, but also about how you present yourself - your brand?

Or is the world just getting flooded with a new breed of highly sophisticated sportsmen?

Saturday's post talks about my quest for eloquence, however, I have to doff my hat to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for not just being excellent sportsmen and great ambassadors of the sport, but also gifted polyglots!

Now, that's pretty neat!

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