Horror at the Boston Marathon

By Hugh Williams

Monday, April 15th 2013 will be marked from now on as a turning point in the way Americans live their lives. The merciless bombing of one of Boston’s most cherished events marks the beginning of an era where nothing is safe. The leisurely activities that Americans love so dearly are being attacked by terrorists, some of whom are Americans themselves. How will this tragedy effect the way sports events are held in the future?

Already, executives are scrambling in England in preparation for the London Marathon, which takes place next Sunday. They have reiterated that the race will take place, and so far, no high-profile runners have withdrawn. It appears as though, for now, people around the world will go on participating in these events in defiance of the attackers. While many organizations will put on a brave face in the weeks and months to come, there is no doubt that there will be a much bigger emphasis on the preparation and safety of future events. John Asher, spokesman for Churchill Downs, said in an email to the Guardian that they “are always in close contact at this time of year with the dozens of federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety partners…” The Kentucky Derby is the next sporting event that attracts more fans than usual events. It will be interesting to see the security measures they take at the race and in the events preceding it.

From a sponsorship standpoint, the bombings left many companies scrambling to account for employees and representatives who attended the race, and many companies lost out on advertising time when other Boston-area sporting events were subsequently cancelled. The companies handled the effects of the bombings with class and grace; however, and focused their energies on supporting those injured or killed and their families. Initial remarks from sponsors of the Boston Marathon, as well as those of other high-profile sporting events across the country are that they will continue their sponsorships despite the threat of future attacks.

While the future of large-scale sporting events is definitely going to change, we will not know how for some time. For now, it seems as though they will stay the same in a show of solidarity and defiance, but changes will have to be made to ensure the safety of the athletes and attendees. The events will have to let people know of the changes they are making to protect them, and they may have to make improvements to the experience of the event to entice people to leave the safe bubble of their homes. The world is changing, and America is a big target for terrorists because of our involvement in international affairs and our love for big, community-wide events that encourage social interactions. Safety and security has to be the main concern for event organizers going forward. If children are being killed while trying to high-five their fathers, there is definitely something wrong with the way we go about securing events such as the Boston Marathon.

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