From Amateurism to Olympism. How should one uphold a philosophy?

13/07/2012  -  11.11

Dr Gerald Griggs and Dr Richard Medcalf

The Olympics were once the preserve of the amateur, who competed for the love of the sport without receiving payment.

Though many still consider that the Olympics is for amateur sports performers, this has not been the case since the changing of the IOC charter in the mid 1980s which permitted "all the world's great male and female athletes to participate."

This led to the influx of world famous professional athletes shortly afterwards, most notably the US basketball team in 1992 known as the ‘Dream Team’ featuring Michael Jordan.

Officially the guiding principle for the International Olympic Committee at present is that of Olympism – an elusive term which combines sport, education and culture.

Yet given the inherent lack of clarity in what this means in real terms for participants, how should one uphold it?

What values should we expect from an Olympian?

Have these values in some way changed, in response to the growing commercialisation of what is now a truly global enterprise?

Dr Gerald Griggs, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sports Studiesand Dr Richard Medcalf, Lecturer in Sport and Leisure