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AG

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Having an interesting discussion in the chat box about what makes an elite sport. Does beach volleyball count?

Synchronized swimming?
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  • Arb

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    1) I don't think a sport has to be "elite" or the pinnacle of human ability to qualify for the Olympics (from an ideological point of view).

    2) Competition is what makes any sport "elite".

    I think the "lesser" sports have more of a place in the Olympics than the "mega" sports which standalone outside the Olympics.

    International Football has the World Cup, and regional cups, all of these are greater than an Olympic medal. Being U23 makes it interesting from a spectator perspective but there shouldn't really be a condition like this at an Olympic level, I'd ditch it completely.

    Tennis I think should only be there in a teams format.

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  • Ram

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    Byop-Linkage
    which is how this started

    Softball is a softcock choice. what next? Backyard cricket?

    Golf isn't an olympic sport, as much as I love it, it shouldn't be. It's got a great history and Olympics will never be the pinnacle.
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  • bicing

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    ram:
    My opinion says, not beach volleyball, not softball and similar sports.
    Today at 09:34
    Jamsque:
    Mornin
    Today at 09:34
    AussieGoddess:
    So what makes an elite sport?  To qualify for the Olympics
    Today at 09:32
    ram:
    real volleyball on the other hand...
    Today at 09:32
    ram:
    well, we can't expect beach football to be an olympic sport or beach cricket too. The sport gained ground because of sculpted tanned bodies hopping around in the sand. That's my opinion anyway.
    Today at 09:31
    Capt_Cavman:
    How exciting would 2 a-side football be?
    Today at 09:31
    ram:
    Quote

        L'arriviste: talking of serious, the thread about shoutbox vs. threads makes for interesting reading

    Aye, but us box spammers are the regular posters too. Don't know the solution. Let tthe brains trust decide that
    Today at 09:30
    Capt_Cavman:
    Number of players.
    Today at 09:30
    AussieGoddess:
    Ooh fighting words ram  ;D. It is an elite sport. What makes it any different from indoor volleyball?  Just because it's on sand?
    Today at 09:29
    Capt_Cavman:
    In all seriousness, beach volleyball has nothing going for it as a sport. What it had was glamour and being the subject of fnrrr fnrrr comments. Take that away and you have nothing much to watch.
    Today at 09:28
    ram:
    Quote

        AussieGoddess: Lol ram. You just happened to pick an issue that grates mine

    I don't think it is an elite sport, it built its reputation on being a sexy sport and shouldn't have been in the Olympics at all. Can't change the fact that it will always be a sexy sport, both male and female.
    Today at 09:27
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    Ram

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    I shed a tear after reading that article. The dingo pack hunted me down though.

    And golf is a fine sport. At least we agree on the darts.
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  • Jamsque

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    It is very difficult to make clear distinctions in this area. I would start by saying that sports are a subset of games, but that doesn't really help since 'game' is a notoriously hard thing to define.

    Here are my attempts:

    A sport is any form of structured competition between human beings that is largely physical in nature, that contains within its rules a clear method of determining a victor, and whose outcome is determined almost entirely by the actions of the humans engaging in it.

    There are some weasel words in there: no sport is 100% physical, even powerlifting has a mental element to it, and there is no sport which is completely free from the influence of random chance, in fact some (sailing) have significant random elements.

    This excludes things like chess and e-sports (mostly mental), poker and chasing cheese down hills (outcomes largely dependant on random chance), horse racing and competitive fishing (outcomes heavily influenced by non-humans).

    I think 'elite sport' is a meaningless term. If it was to have a definition I would say that an elite sport is one that is played professionally in multiple continents but that isn't particularly useful.


    The question of what should go in the Olympic games is a different one, and ultimately it depends on what you think the Olympics should be. Leaving aside all the cultural aspects of the Games and focusing on the sporting, I think that the purpose of the Olympic Games should be to provide a venue for top-level sporting competition that drives the standard of human physical achievement ever higher.

    Having a single event every four years that is universally recognised as the most important contest in a given sport is good for that sport. Athletes are driven to perform their very best by the knowledge that they are competing against the cream of their peers at the height of their form, and modern sports science tells us that a four year training cycle lets them healthily build their fitness to its greatest peak and recover smoothly.

    Taking that as a given, what should be part of the Olympics? Well, that's a question more of politics and philosophy than sport. Here are my personal beliefs on what the criteria an Olympic sport should meet (assuming they already meet my above criteria for being a sport in the first place):

    • Must be played professionally in AT LEAST two continents
    • Must have an objective method for determining the victor
    • Must not have an existing less-frequent-than-annual contest that is recognised as the highest level of competition

    The reasoning behind the first point should hopefully be obvious. If the goal of the games is to drive human physical achievement forwards then there is no point in hosting sports whose level of competition is amateur, and if they are to be a global event then sports with only localised popularity are irrelevant. Mandating professionalism does go against the original ethos of the Games, but in a modern context there are a huge number of sports that have the popularity to support large numbers of professional competitors, and it is these sports which people dedicate their entire lives to that produce the greatest feats of physical human accomplishment.

    The second point is perhaps more contentious, and excludes many of the current Olympic sports. I think it is necessary to exclude subjectively judged events in order to preserve the integrity of the games (let's leave aside the fact that the IOC is massively corrupt for the purposes of this discussion). It's well documented that home-field advantage is very real in the Olympics, especially in judged events, and that is quite simply unfair. The easiest way to solve this is to limit the Games to events that produce a clear and unambiguous winner through objective means. Someone has to cross the finish line first, someone has to lift the heaviest weight or jump the highest bar, someone has to set the lowest time across the slalom course, someone has to land their arrows closer to the centre than the others. The edge case here are events like boxing and judo that do include judges, but the since in those cases the judges are (theoretically at least) making quantitative and not qualitative distinctions I think they count as 'objective' for our purposes. Also I think Gymnastics is super boring and Ski Jumping should be 100% judged on how far you get, even if you land on your face.

    The third point is one of pure practicality. There is already a Football World Cup that serves as the highest level of global football competition. Football at the Olympics will always play second fiddle to Football at the World Cup, and as such it fails to meet the goal of pushing the standard of play and human physical achievement forward. The Olympics should be a catch-all for popular sports that don't already have a once-every-four-years international top-level event.


    I am sure that there are edge cases I have missed and exceptions to these rules that others will point out, but those are my thoughts on the matter.
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  • Auscyclefan

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    A sport is any form of structured competition between human beings that is largely physical in nature, that contains within its rules a clear method of determining a victor, and whose outcome is determined almost entirely by the actions of the humans engaging in it.

    Some good research Jamsque.

    Here are some hypotheticals. On that criteria is...

    Pole dancing a sport?
    Dancing a sport?
    Golf a sport?
    Rhythmic or even Artistic Gymnastics a sport?
    Sychronised Swimming a sport?
    Diving a sport?

    For many of those, a human judges who is the winner. Even though it is understood what is, for example a good dive or dancing performance, is the outcome "determined almost entirely by the actions of the humans engaging in it"?
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  • - Australia's greatest sporting moment

    Ram

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    Golf a sport? Most definitely. The ball doesn't fly 350 yards off a drive by just batting the eyelids and it takes a sh*tload of effort to get it in the general intended direction.
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  • Dr. Horrible the Mad Elephant Man

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    A sport is any form of structured competition between human beings that is largely physical in nature, that contains within its rules a clear method of determining a victor, and whose outcome is determined almost entirely by the actions of the humans engaging in it.

    Really good. I would remove the comparatives "largely" and "almost entirely". So...

    Quote
    A sport is a competition which requires effort generated by human energy to achieve a pre-defined, cumulative object qualified by prescriptive rules where the victor shall be deemed to be the individual or group which best satisfies the definition of that object.

    Of course, this leaves a lot of room for manoeuvre. ;)
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  • Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
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    Jamsque

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    Some good research Jamsque.

    Here are some hypotheticals. On that criteria is...

    Pole dancing a sport?
    Dancing a sport?
    Golf a sport?
    Rhythmic or even Artistic Gymnastics a sport?
    Sychronised Swimming a sport?
    Diving a sport?

    For many of those, a human judges who is the winner. Even though it is understood what is, for example a good dive or dancing performance, is the outcome "determined almost entirely by the actions of the humans engaging in it"?

    Well, how do they match up to my criteria? Golf easily meets all of them so set that aside.

    As for the rest, it depends on the context they take place in. Is dancing in a chorus line in a stage musical a sport? No. Is pole dancing at spearmint rhino a sport? No.

    If, however, you take dancing in the specific context of a structured dance competition with clear rules and a process (judged or otherwise) for determining a victor, then yes I think it is a sport, and so are the artistic gymnastic disciplines and diving and synchronised swimming. You are right that because they are judged on qualitative terms by other humans they fall in to something of a grey area with regards to my stipulation about the outcome being determined by the participating humans, which is why I would exclude them from the Olympics.
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  • Jamsque

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    Then darts should be an Olympic sport too  :P
    Is darts played professionally outside Europe? I flipping hope not.
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Darts outside Europe? We have had World Champions from the US (oops Canada) and Australia.

    I really like the point about defining an Olympic sport by whether the result can be decided without the intervention of a third party. The umpire/ref/judge is simply there to arbitrate during the competition and where the result is too close to call.
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  • AG

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    if we are questioning some sports where the winner is judged subjectively, what about some of the winter olympic sports?

    Ice Dancing, snowboarding and freestyle skiing etc.

    I think those things are still sports.  They are still elite competitions etc
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  • Jamsque

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    By my methods, freestyle skiing and figure-skating are sports but should not be Olympic sports.

    That Darts thing annoys me but I'm not sure I can re-phrase my rule to exclude it without excluding too much else.
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  • Ram

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    Hot dog eating should be an Olympic sport, and the great thing is, it could be done at both the summer and winter games.
    Sage, though all the hospitals will be filled the next day.
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  • Dr. Horrible the Mad Elephant Man

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    Blitz chess is a sport
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    By my methods, freestyle skiing and figure-skating are sports but should not be Olympic sports.

    That Darts thing annoys me but I'm not sure I can re-phrase my rule to exclude it without excluding too much else.
    Rule 4? Exclude what are essentially pub games, e.g. darts, pool, snooker, skittles etc
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  • Dr. Horrible the Mad Elephant Man

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    Is shooting a sport?
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  • Ram

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    It won India its only individual gold, so of course it is. The Chinese sports can get farked.

    Pea shooting should be a sport too.
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  • Dr. Horrible the Mad Elephant Man

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    Dr. Horrible the Mad Elephant Man

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    How about equestrian?
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  • Jamsque

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    Nope, sport is about humans and humans only. Horses ain't people, horse racing ain't sport.
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  • Anthony Moan

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    if we are questioning some sports where the winner is judged subjectively, what about some of the winter olympic sports?

    Ice Dancing, snowboarding and freestyle skiing etc.

    I think those things are still sports.  They are still elite competitions etc
    You would be surprised how many hours of training takes ice dancing and how difficult it is, very often I look those kids as many other sports.
    For ice dancing per example it takes gymnastic, ballet lessons, running, gym, skating, etc, and 20-30 hours per week.
    Every sport for Olympic level takes 20-35 hours weekly, of course some of them requires strength, some endurance, some precision, and some all components, and 20 hours of running are not same as 20 hrs of dart.
    Of course darts or curling can not be compared with running or cycling, but anyway it takes times and will, and those young sport where athletes are in jeans :fp like snowboarding are just popular, but it takes lot of passion to get on Olympic games.
    TV rights for lazy fat people also plays huge role, and people inventing more sports every day, just saying.

    Synchronized swimming did anyone tried that?
    Diving?

    It takes dedication, like every sport.

    How money goes here at Olympic level sport it is another story, and we have rather serious debate, just like this thread. Does bridge or chess should be financed by results? It is big question here, and know people who dealing with categorization, it is nightmare.

    Just mine 54 cents.
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  • Reverend Fred Saves!!

    Ram

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    Thanks tony, I'll take the 52 extra cents. ;)
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  • Anthony Moan

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    Nope, sport is about humans and humans only. Horses ain't people, horse racing ain't sport.

    Jamsque, take a one good training on 2 miles horse track at 65km/h and I would ask you it is sport or not. Those jockeys have more static strength in their legs and core then entire forum here dude.
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  • AG

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    Tony - I am not actually saying they arent sports.  I think many of those sports are great ....

    and I actually was the one saying beach volleyball IS a sport and should be there too  ;D

    Nope, sport is about humans and humans only. Horses ain't people, horse racing ain't sport.

    hmm - so under your definition, is cycling a sport?       :P
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  • Ram

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    The podium ladies are definitely a sport to come out just to give a kiss to questionable looking blokes.
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  • Jamsque

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    Jamsque, take a one good training on 2 miles horse track at 65km/h and I would ask you it is sport or not. Those jockeys have more static strength in their legs and core then entire forum here dude.

    Carrying bricks up ladders is hard work too. Doesn't make it a sport though.

    AG, the point of differentiation between cycling and horse racing is that the bike is just a tool that the human athlete uses, like a running shoe or a javelin. Yes, there are some differences between bikes that can lead to minor advantages for one competitor or another, but nothing like the differences between horses make in a horse race.
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  • AG

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    so a bike is just equipment, but a horse is alive and contributes to the success or failure ... yep fair point.

    What about motor sports?
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