Olympics: Sport or Art?

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    oldgrappler's Avatar
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    Olympics: Sport or Art?

    A friend of mine brought this subject up. He asked the question if some of the sports featured in the Olympics were actually more art than sport. His opinion is the ones that are judged by a panel are more art and the non-judged events are sport. That is not to say that events like figure skating and gymnastics do not contain elements of athleticism and sport, but that they fall in line more with the arts. His opinion.

    What do you think about the proposed distinction?
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    TheDeuce's Avatar
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    If judges decide a winner, it's not a sport to me.

    That does not mean that I think the people competing in those events aren't athletes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeuce View Post
    If judges decide a winner, it's not a sport to me.
    Boxing (in the case of a fight that goes the distance)? Many Olympic events are decided by judges....gymnastics, Half-pipe and other aerial skiing events, diving, etc. I think just saying "if judges decide a winner" is way to simplistic. These events all take a great deal of athletic training, have a competitive element, and ultimately keep some sort of score. Regardless of how that score is tallied, I think they have to be considered sports.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjs4470 View Post
    Boxing (in the case of a fight that goes the distance)? Many Olympic events are decided by judges....gymnastics, Half-pipe and other aerial skiing events, diving, etc. I think just saying "if judges decide a winner" is way to simplistic. These events all take a great deal of athletic training, have a competitive element, and ultimately keep some sort of score. Regardless of how that score is tallied, I think they have to be considered sports.
    Judging is subjective. It can be manipulated by any number of things. Looking at a scoreboard isn't.

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    It seems that the organizations are setting performance and judging requirements, eg. skating jumps, to increase the objectivity of the judging thus reducing the subjective part. IMO they are sports. Just because score is kept, it doesn't mean subjectivity doesn't take over a contest. The judges in these cases are the referees, and they have influenced many a contest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeuce View Post
    Judging is subjective. It can be manipulated by any number of things. Looking at a scoreboard isn't.
    There's a large degree of subjectivity in officiating any sport. Rules are interpreted, and for the most part, any officials decision is a judgement call. Sure, many of those calls are clear cut, but many are not, and often times can decide outcomes of games. Replay to a certain extent has addressed some of the subjectivity involved in making calls. And while judging can be subjective, it is based on a pretty strict set of rules and standards...."if this happens, then you deduct "x" amount from the score". And ultimately, those results end up on a scoreboard and the highest "scorer" wins.

    In my mind, I look at the actual definition of sport---

    "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment"

    The key words/phrases (at least to me) are "Physical exertion" and "competes". No mention of how the activity is scored or judged. Based on that, in my mind, it's pretty clear that all these events in question are sports.

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    TheDeuce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjs4470 View Post
    There's a large degree of subjectivity in officiating any sport. Rules are interpreted, and for the most part, any officials decision is a judgement call. Sure, many of those calls are clear cut, but many are not, and often times can decide outcomes of games. Replay to a certain extent has addressed some of the subjectivity involved in making calls. And while judging can be subjective, it is based on a pretty strict set of rules and standards...."if this happens, then you deduct "x" amount from the score". And ultimately, those results end up on a scoreboard and the highest "scorer" wins.

    In my mind, I look at the actual definition of sport---

    "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment"

    The key words/phrases (at least to me) are "Physical exertion" and "competes". No mention of how the activity is scored or judged. Based on that, in my mind, it's pretty clear that all these events in question are sports.
    While officials can certainly affect a contest, they rarely decide one. You can almost always point to a different point in the contest where had a play been made, the call in question would be irrelevant.

    We simply don't agree on this matter.

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    @TheDeuce is all over this one! Just keep posting my thoughts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeuce View Post
    While officials can certainly affect a contest, they rarely decide one. You can almost always point to a different point in the contest where had a play been made, the call in question would be irrelevant.

    We simply don't agree on this matter.
    I hear you. The only other thing I'd add, is that these judged events are again, scored (or whatever you want to call it) on a strict standard by a panel of multiple judges, whose scores are put together to form a consensus, which I think eliminates a good degree of subjectivity. It's not just one guy watching and deciding. And I think some of our thoughts about the subjectivity of the judging come from the fact that we (at least I know I don't) don't completely understand the scoring criteria, and the sometimes minutia that's involved in deciding what's a good score and what isn't.

    Either way, sport or no sport, these events take a high degree of skill and long term training in order to become successful. Maybe we can't agree on whether they are "sports" or not, but the competitors are certainly athletes.

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    Sport. No doubt in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjs4470 View Post
    Either way, sport or no sport, these events take a high degree of skill and long term training in order to become successful. Maybe we can't agree on whether they are "sports" or not, but the competitors are certainly athletes.
    Absolutely agree.

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    They are both - Artistic Sports.

    Much the way hitting a ball with a bat is both art and athleticism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldweatherfan View Post
    They are both - Artistic Sports.

    Much the way hitting a ball with a bat is both art and athleticism.
    Agreed.

    I can see art and beauty when I watch talented football players play the game.

    Aren't referees essentially judges?

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    Quote Originally Posted by True blue (and gold) View Post
    Agreed.

    I can see art and beauty when I watch talented football players play the game.

    Aren't referees essentially judges?
    I'd say no to referee's being judges in the same sense as say a diving or gymnastics judge. An umpire interprets the rules in baseball, he/she doesn't "grade" or judge a home run on the merits of the swing, or a strike based on the fluidity of the pitchers delivery. Judges DIRECTLY pick the winner, umps/refs don't.

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    I have often believed ice skating is much more of a beautiful art form than a sport, it just requires extremely athletic artists.

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