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BuckyBadger

Olympic Sports vs Olympic “Sports”

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6 hours ago, DanGerMan said:

How about this one? Or one of these other 4? 

 

Why we love Michael Phelps — bong rips and all

I recently listen to the Fresh Air interview with C C. Sabathia. He is an alcoholic and competed at the highest level for years while still in the grips of it. 

Elite athletes are freaks. 

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This has been a nice discussion, but I think it's time to really put the nail in the coffin.  We have been discussing what is and isn't a sport, but in reality the word "sport" has a definition that can be looked up and academia has already provided the means to analyze sports for us.  Please see the following summary, "Understanding Sport," written by Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D.. 

To fully understand a sport, we must first be fluent with its skill, exertion, and competitiveness.  Then ask two questions:  1. How much physical exertion is required to compete within the sport.  And 2, How much skill is needed during this exertion.  Question 1 rates the sport's physical demands.  Question 2 rates skill.  And once these questions have been answered, determining the sport's greatness becomes a relatively simple matter.  If the sport's score for physical demand is plotted on the horizontal of a graph, and its skill is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the sport yields the measure of its greatness.   A sport like Golf might score high on the vertical, but only average on the horizontal. Tennis, on the hand, would score high both horizontally and vertically, yielding a massive total area, thereby revealing the sport to be truly great.  As you proceed through the sports in this book, practice this rating method.  As your ability to evaluate sports in this manner grows, so will your enjoyment and understanding of athletics.  

 

So I'm pretty sure that settles it.  Golf is clearly a sport, as is wrestling.  Feel free to give your opinion on their X and Y coordinates though.  

Edited by Billyhoyle

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3 hours ago, Billyhoyle said:

This has been a nice discussion, but I think it's time to really put the nail in the coffin.  We have been discussing what is and isn't a sport, but in reality the word "sport" has a definition that can be looked up and academia has already provided the means to analyze sports for us.  Please see the following summary, "Understanding Sport," written by Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D.. 

To fully understand a sport, we must first be fluent with its skill, exertion, and competitiveness.  Then ask two questions:  1. How much physical exertion is required to compete within the sport.  And 2, How much skill is needed during this exertion.  Question 1 rates the sport's physical demands.  Question 2 rates skill.  And once these questions have been answered, determining the sport's greatness becomes a relatively simple matter.  If the sport's score for physical demand is plotted on the horizontal of a graph, and its skill is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the sport yields the measure of its greatness.   A sport like Golf might score high on the vertical, but only average on the horizontal. Tennis, on the hand, would score high both horizontally and vertically, yielding a massive total area, thereby revealing the sport to be truly great.  As you proceed through the sports in this book, practice this rating method.  As your ability to evaluate sports in this manner grows, so will your enjoyment and understanding of athletics.  

 

So I'm pretty sure that settles it.  Golf is clearly a sport, as is wrestling.  Feel free to give your opinion on their X and Y coordinates though.  

Dude- I think totally misjudged you if you are posting this as parody...  If you are well done. Seriously.  Keating would be impressed.  

Edited by matts1w

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Everyone has a different definition of what qualifies as a sport or what should be included in the Olympics.

After reading this discussion I don’t think the nuances of what qualifies as a sport versus athletic competition is so important. Just because gymnastics has a judge assigning a score doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong in the Olympics. Gymnasts are some of the most impressive athletes around. They clearly belong.

What I find so frustrating about the Olympics today compared to 20-25 years ago are the growing number of events that don’t appear to have much athletic ability associated with them, or the pool of competitors in a sport is so tiny that being the best simply means beating out a couple thousand other serious competitors. 

Two examples:

1. I’ll go back to shooting/archery/equestrian. I’m sure these require skill, training, dedication etc. I take nothing away from the competitors and what they achieve. But to be in the Olympics I think one needs to be a high level athlete. When a 50 year old can come in and be competitive, this is an indication that this is more of a competitive activity than it is an athletic competition. The idea that an Olympic gold medalist in shooting is comparable to a swimmer/runner etc is simply laughable. 

2. Canoe/Sailing/Kayak

Clearly these require strength/endurance/skill. I don’t think of these in the same way as running/swimming/wrestling, but for arguments sake let’s say these are sports. They still shouldn’t be in the Olympics. How many people have access to the equipment needed? Of those, how many train like a top level athlete? Maybe thousands of people…maybe. Again, the idea that these events are on par with the more traditional Olympic sports cheapens what it means to be an Olympian.

We see more of these types of competitions every cycle. When a full quarter to third of the events meet my non sport or niche non accessible sport criteria it’s a sign that it’s purely about TV revenue.

Edited by BuckyBadger

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I agree with most of what you said.  I would never take anything away from someone for being the best at whatever it is that they do.  And if they can beat all of the other people that do that activity/sport/athletic event/etc., they have my utmost respect!  However, in my opinion, and to go off of what Bucky said, there is a HUGE difference between being the absolute best at a sport/activity/event/etc. that millions of people around the world do, and a niche sport/activity/event/etc. that thousands of people do across several countries.  

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4 minutes ago, dman115 said:

I agree with most of what you said.  I would never take anything away from someone for being the best at whatever it is that they do.  And if they can beat all of the other people that do that activity/sport/athletic event/etc., they have my utmost respect!  However, in my opinion, and to go off of what Bucky said, there is a HUGE difference between being the absolute best at a sport/activity/event/etc. that millions of people around the world do, and a niche sport/activity/event/etc. that thousands of people do across several countries.  

Obviously there are big differences in the number of competitors in different sports. But that has nothing to do with whether an activity is a sport. FWIW I would think that Canoe/Sailing/Kayak all have a fair number of competitors.

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I think the justification for the archery, shooting, equestrian inclusion was never that they were particularly athletic, but that the Olympic Games served as a way in which nations, or Greek city-states, could engage in military-style competitions without, too much, bloodshed and violence. Whether you think that is still a legitimate conception of the Games dictates whether they should be included still. Depends what 'the point' of the Olympics is, which the IOC is clearly trying to balance popular/growing, commercial, and historical aspects of to differing extents.

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6 minutes ago, GoNotQuietly said:

I think the justification for the archery, shooting, equestrian inclusion was never that they were particularly athletic, but that the Olympic Games served as a way in which nations, or Greek city-states, could engage in military-style competitions without, too much, bloodshed and violence. Whether you think that is still a legitimate conception of the Games dictates whether they should be included still. Depends what 'the point' of the Olympics is, which the IOC is clearly trying to balance popular/growing, commercial, and historical aspects of to differing extents.

I can make an exception for some of these if they are included because they have historical significance to the Olympics and special meaning to the spirit of the games. But you can find a bunch of others that don’t have the history factor and I would argue don’t belong.

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18 minutes ago, NJDan said:

Obviously there are big differences in the number of competitors in different sports. But that has nothing to do with whether an activity is a sport. FWIW I would think that Canoe/Sailing/Kayak all have a fair number of competitors.

You really think there are more than a few hundred to a thousand people that can compete and train like a high level swimmer or runner does at these very expensive non-revenue activities?

Edited by BuckyBadger

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4 minutes ago, BuckyBadger said:

You really think there are more than a few hundred to a thousand people that can compete and train like a high level swimmer or runner does at these very expensive non-revenue activities?

do you really think there are only 1000 sail boats on this planet?

and that is the real point...

it is an activity that is ancient and at one time was extremely relevant to the survival and expansion of the human race...

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4 minutes ago, BuckyBadger said:

You really think there are more than a few hundred to a thousand people that can compete and train like a high level swimmer or runner does at these very expensive non-revenue activities?

I don't know. I believe that there are tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands who kayak, canoe and sail in the USA alone. I don't know how many compete at a high level-- obviously much fewer. I already conceded that the number is lower than runners or swimmers. But I think the number of swimmers who compete at a high level is also small compared to runners.

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2 minutes ago, LJB said:

do you really think there are only 1000 sail boats on this planet?

and that is the real point...

it is an activity that is ancient and at one time was extremely relevant to the survival and expansion of the human race...

So is hunting, gathering and a number of other things. Since when was the criteria for an Olympic sport an activity that is ancient and relevant to human survival? You are moving away from sport criteria altogether.

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I would say dressage is the most dubious when it comes to expense and small numbers of participants. A horse is expensive to buy, house and feed. But do you really want to tell Bruce Springsteen that his kid can't be in the Olympics?

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Just now, NJDan said:

I would say dressage is the most dubious when it comes to expense and small numbers of participants. A horse is expensive to buy, house and feed. But do you really want to tell Bruce Springsteen that his kid can't be in the Olympics?

They might be able to get by.

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1 minute ago, BuckyBadger said:

So is hunting, gathering and a number of other things. Since when was the criteria for an Olympic sport an activity that is ancient and relevant to human survival? You are moving away from sport criteria altogether.

clearly it is not a requirement to be in the games, but, to say sailing isn't a sport or relevant or that enough people "compete" in it for be an inclusion is incredibly narrow minded...

just say it doesn't interest you and don't watch...

i was in chicago last week and saw more sailboats in the harbor than there were competitors or spectators at fargo...

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2 minutes ago, LJB said:

clearly it is not a requirement to be in the games, but, to say sailing isn't a sport or relevant or that enough people "compete" in it for be an inclusion is incredibly narrow minded...

just say it doesn't interest you and don't watch...

i was in chicago last week and saw more sailboats in the harbor than there were competitors or spectators at fargo...

You can call it narrow minded, and maybe that’s fair. But there has to be some criteria for inclusion. What about darts or bowling? Where do you draw the line?

I find all of these interesting, including sailing. But it doesn’t mean it should be in the games.

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4 minutes ago, BuckyBadger said:

You can call it narrow minded, and maybe that’s fair. But there has to be some criteria for inclusion. What about darts or bowling? Where do you draw the line?

I find all of these interesting, including sailing. But it doesn’t mean it should be in the games.

i wont argue whether or not darts or bowling should be in...

but...

to compare those to sailing is apples and typewriters...

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1 hour ago, LJB said:

i wont argue whether or not darts or bowling should be in...

but...

to compare those to sailing is apples and typewriters...

I’m not saying that they are comparable. Just that you are quick to criticize my criteria without offering your own.

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2 hours ago, BuckyBadger said:

You really think there are more than a few hundred to a thousand people that can compete and train like a high level swimmer or runner does at these very expensive non-revenue activities?

USA Swimming had 346,000 athlete members in 2019. So, yes, I do think there are more than a thousand people who can attempt to compete and train as a high level swimmer. Of course, actually being a high level swimmer is different. By definition that is constrained to the fewest number of people (or else they would not be high level). And how you think of running as being expensive is beyond me. The median income in Kenya is expected to be $1,230 in 2021 and yet the Kenyans dominate long distance running.

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23 minutes ago, BuckyBadger said:

I’m not saying that they are comparable. Just that you are quick to criticize my criteria without offering your own.

i don't necessarily have any "criteria" for what is included in the olympics, but, the two sports/disciplines/whatever the hell someone wants to call them you mentioned i feel are 100% olympic worthy and i have explained it well enough as to why in this thread already...

i really don't care what is in and what is not for many of the reasons that have been gone over...

the olympics is a shameful money grab and as such is pretty damn gross...

with that being said...

the OLYMPIC DREAM for the participants is still the same as it has always been and that is one of the most important/worthy/admirable aspirations an "athlete" can have on this planet in my estimation...

i don't care what sport they participate in, the olympic dream is the same and representing your country on the world stage is still the biggest honor an "athlete" can have win lose or draw...

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Wrestleknownothing said:

USA Swimming had 346,000 athlete members in 2019. So, yes, I do think there are more than a thousand people who can attempt to compete and train as a high level swimmer. Of course, actually being a high level swimmer is different. By definition that is constrained to the fewest number of people (or else they would not be high level). And how you think of running as being expensive is beyond me. The median income in Kenya is expected to be $1,230 in 2021 and yet the Kenyans dominate long distance running.

You completely misread what I wrote. Go ahead and look at the earlier posts leading up to this one.

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3 hours ago, BuckyBadger said:

Everyone has a different definition of what qualifies as a sport or what should be included in the Olympics.

After reading this discussion I don’t think the nuances of what qualifies as a sport versus athletic competition is so important. Just because gymnastics has a judge assigning a score doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong in the Olympics. Gymnasts are some of the most impressive athletes around. They clearly belong.

What I find so frustrating about the Olympics today compared to 20-25 years ago are the growing number of events that don’t appear to have much athletic ability associated with them, or the pool of competitors in a sport is so tiny that being the best simply means beating out a couple thousand other serious competitors. 

Two examples:

1. I’ll go back to shooting/archery/equestrian. I’m sure these require skill, training, dedication etc. I take nothing away from the competitors and what they achieve. But to be in the Olympics I think one needs to be a high level athlete. When a 50 year old can come in and be competitive, this is an indication that this is more of a competitive activity than it is an athletic competition. The idea that an Olympic gold medalist in shooting is comparable to a swimmer/runner etc is simply laughable. 

Sports require a combination of skill and physical exertion/athleticism. Just because sport A requires more physical exertion than sport B, doesn't mean the latter isn't a sport. Gordie Howe was in the NHL at age 50 and Jagr was in his 40s.  Is Hockey not a sport? Go try out competitive archery, shooting, or equestrian.  I guarantee that you will not find them to be easy.  All require significant skill as well.  Please see my post above about graphing skill/exertion on cartesian coordinates and apply it accordingly. 

 

3 hours ago, BuckyBadger said:

2. Canoe/Sailing/Kayak

Clearly these require strength/endurance/skill. I don’t think of these in the same way as running/swimming/wrestling, but for arguments sake let’s say these are sports. They still shouldn’t be in the Olympics. How many people have access to the equipment needed? Of those, how many train like a top level athlete? Maybe thousands of people…maybe. Again, the idea that these events are on par with the more traditional Olympic sports cheapens what it means to be an Olympian.

We see more of these types of competitions every cycle. When a full quarter to third of the events meet my non sport or niche non accessible sport criteria it’s a sign that it’s purely about TV revenue.

99% of people considering wrestling is a niche sport as well, so by this definition wrestling shouldn't be in the olympics. The wrestling we do today is very different than what they actually did back in ancient Greece. 

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