It all began in 2014 with a conversation, a conversation about a vision. This vision was about a sporting world where all athletes could be free and equal. This conversation continued to occur, the vision slowly became more realistic and eventually in 2016 the mission was set for Association 6.
Our mission: to make equality visible in sport and create positive sporting environments.
Co-founder, Slaven Dizdarevic, represented Slovakia at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 as a decathlete. As a decorated athlete he held the national record in the heptathlon and several other national champion titles. A contributing factor that helped Slaven to achieve his Olympic dream was the positive experience he gained by ‘coming out’ about his sexuality to his training partner. He had trained for years and years as a ‘closeted’ athlete and always felt that he was being held back by something. Once he openly spoke about his sexuality and became his true self as an athlete, he gained more enjoyment out of the sport and his daily training sessions. In this season his performance and times dramatically improved and he qualified for his first Olympic Games. However, to his surprise at the Olympics in Beijing the visibility of LGBT athletes was very minimal. (Time Magazine quoted 10 LGBT athletes for the Beijing Olympics). This planted the seed in Slaven’s mind and helped him see that positive environments were needed to help other athletes to also be free and open about themselves. He decided to end his career as an athlete in 2012, after the London Olympic games, and focus on his education and the vision of helping the LGBT sporting community.
Slaven received a scholarship to study his Master’s in Switzerland with AISTS (Académie Internationale des Sciences et Techniques du Sport), an international postgraduate programme in sports management, endorsed by the International Olympic Committee. From this he gained a deeper knowledge of the current issues in sport on an international level and conducted his first study in homophobia in sports under the supervision of Professor Joseph Maguire, a well known sport sociologist from Loughborough University. His study targeted the current sports anti-homophobia campaigns being run in Switzerland, in particular ‘Stop homophobia dans le sport’ implemented by the Association de Suisse des Services du Sport. This research helped him become more aware of the capability sport has to become a means of change and influence positive changes in society, and together with Slaven’s experiences on and off the field, inspired him to co-launch Association 6 in May, 2016.
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