The eyes of the world will be on South Africa as the nation plays host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup of soccer this summer. It could be said, though, that the country’s first step toward acquiring this prestigious event occurred 15 years earlier.

It was then that the captain of the victorious South African rugby team presented the 1995 Rugby World Cup trophy to President Nelson Mandela.This iconic embrace, retold in the 2009 film Invictus, symbolized the formation of a new post-apartheid national identity in South Africa.

The image of that event graces the cover of Long Run to Freedom: Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa, which was recently re-released by Fitness Information Technology, the principal publishing arm of the International Center for Performance Excellence in the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences at West Virginia University.

In the book, author John Nauright explores the ways in which sports have been central throughout the course of South African history.

As one of the most prominent experts on the history of global sport, and of South African sport, Nauright narrates the story as it unfolded between the 1890s and 1990s with the emergence of the post-apartheid Rainbow Nation led by Mandela. In the re-release of Long Run to Freedom, Nauright, a professor of sport management at George Mason University, updates readers on the role sport has played in South Africa in the 21st Century and examines the potential effects the nation will experience from playing host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“It is impossible to understand the culture, politics, social/racial divisions and unities in the old and new South Africa without an appreciation for the fundamental role of sport throughout history,” Nauright said.

Nauright is the director of the Academy of International Sport at George Mason University as well as visiting professor at Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of the West Indies in Barbados. The Academy runs programs in international sport management for American students to study abroad and for international students to study a program entitled “The American Model of Sport” at Mason. As part of the summer 2010 program, Nauright, who has previously lived in South Africa, will escort American students to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup from June 15 to July 5.

“Learning about sport in the classroom is important, but in studying global sport, nothing can replace actually getting out in the world to see sport in other cultures. The World Cup not only will expose our students to South Africa, but to sports fans and supporter cultures from around the world,” said Nauright.

For more information on Long Run to Freedom, visit

To contact John Nauright for an interview, contact Sheila Saab at or (304) 293-6888, ext 6.



CONTACT: Sheila Saab, Marketing and Public Relations Manager
304-293-6888, ext 6,

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