In the pursuit of success, Belgian athletes are preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Sport governing managers, sport federations, public-private partners, coaches, friends, family, all of them must to some extent contribute to create the circumstances for athletes to perform at their best in Tokyo. Also, society (e.g. by Belgian taxpayers) are indirect sport funders, invest their share and look forward being proud of the performances of Belgium athletes. The athlete may obtain a medal, but how are and can efforts of the athletes be returned to societal communities? Are Belgians prouder, experience senses of belonging or feel inspired to participate in sports themselves? And can these return to society be reinforced by relevant stakeholders?
The relationship between elite sport and sport-for-all, as well as the impact of Olympic success or athletes as role models on society are under researched and existing evidence is anecdotal. Instead of focusing on whether or not elite sport impacts society, this Baillet Latour programme aims to identify if, how, when and to what extent elite sport impacts on society and if effects can be reinforced by purposeful policy and managerial actions and interventions. Specific attention will be paid to the societal effects of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, if successful Olympic disciplines and athletic role models can inspire youth to be more active in sport and be used as a means for personal growth and social development of socially vulnerable groups in society.