Sport Aid: Famine Relief, Fun Runs, Fundraising

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Research units


This paper sets out to historicize the Sport Aid initiative that took place in May 1986 in an effort to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Historical sources from the International Association of Athletics Federations Archives in Monaco and the Carl and Liselott Diem-Archive of the German Sport University Cologne in Germany are examined. Considered the biggest mass sport event of all time, Sport Aid built on the success of the much more famous Live Aid music event that was staged in 1985 at the initiative of Irish musician Bob Geldof. The paper contextualizes Sport Aid within the overall famine relief efforts and discusses the usage of sport against the background of the international sport-for-all and elite sport movements within the mid-1980s. The central finding of the study is that similarities between the international music industry and global sport explain the turn of the Live Aid organizers towards sport even though international sport organizations had a different interpretation of 'aid'. The lack of celebrity involvement in Sport Aid constitutes the main difference between the two events.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport (online)
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 3543227

View graph of relations