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More and more sportsmen and women are continuing to perform at the elite level in their disciplines despite having reached a certain age. Global stars such as Lebron James, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and even Lionel Messi himself o are still at the peak of their sports even though they are now over the age of 30.
For Pau Gasol, the NBA player and Club global ambassador in the USA who on Monday will open the BIHUB Congress on sports innovation, Sports Tomorrow, it is a result of the research that has been carried out in the last few years. "The world of sport has improved a lot as the years have gone by. Now sportspeople look after themselves more and their careers are longer thanks to the research that has been done with regards to medical treatment, nutrition, hydration, the importance of rest...All of this has allowed sportspeople to be healthier and that elite athletes look after themselves better," explains the basketball star.
A decade ago it would have been impossible to find so many top names around the age of 35. For this to keep happening in the future "it is key to invest in new technologies for the sports industry to keep growing," adds Gasol.
A new way of relating to the fans
Technology's arrival has also changed sportsmen and women's relationship with the fans. The social network explosion has given rise to new ways of interacting with followers. "When I started playing Facebook and Instagram did not exist. These platforms allows us to connect much more with the fans and sponsors and work with other sportspeople or create initiatives together," he adds. "We have all seen how quickly things have changed in the last 15 years. Now fans can watch games from all over the world thanks to technology."
Pau Gasol also recognises that social networks are a double edged sword: "It is important for schools and businesses to educate people about the tone used on social networks. For a professional athlete it is important to have a good team around them, given that the biggest platforms have a huge impact on society. You need to learn how to make them work for you to make the most of the positive aspect of the technology."
How has the Covid-19 crisis had an impact?
Evidently, the coronavirus crisis has affected all levels of society across the globe, including sports. "Covid-19 is affecting businesses all over the world and sport is one of them. Right now it is important to adapt, to be creative, innovative and proactive in order to survive as a business model and to offer experiences to our fans so that they can connect with us because we do not know how long this situation will last," explains Gasol. He concludes: "Sport has to find ways for people to remain entertained. It is something important to people."
Barça's commitment to the development of sport
This is one of the topics that will be discussed during the Sports Tomorrow congress, an event that Gasol sees as very positive: "I love that the idea of the congress because it demonstrates a commitment to the future of sport and to making it grow. Organising an event like this is a great step and shows leadership and above all the responsibility of a club like FC Barcelona who make it possible for people and organisations to come together to share ideas and knowledge and to think about how to make the world of sport grow," reasons the NBA player.
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