Olympics: Sportsmanship or Sponsorship

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It has been 24 years since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allowed professional athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. Many may argue that the change has made the games more interesting or maybe it was even a step closer to world peace or whatever, but with the professionals came many sponsors and new ways of advertising on a much larger scale. Professionalism is slowly destroying the original spirit of the Olympics. They have gone from young amateur athletes to highly paid professionals and an unthinkable amount of advertising and commercialism. Whether the change has been positive or negative, it has happened.



For 90 years the Olympic games where a place amateur athletes could go to have their few moments of fame. Many wonderful athletes where discovered due to this system of Olympics. Now it is way harder to notice the unprofessional competitors because they are outnumbered and many are under experienced. Before the change, I feel there was much more motivation for young competitors to come the Olympics. Now many competitors feel they don’t stand a chance against highly paid and trained professionals.


Now that professional athletes are allowed in the Olympics, “many Olympic athletes have sponsors, expensive equipment, and the luxury of training full time” says the PBS website. There are so many professionals now that they are crowding out the amateurs. They make it increasingly difficult for the amateurs for the amateurs to become noticed. According to the Britannica Online Encyclopedia, although allowing professional athletes to compete helped solve financial problems in the 1980s, the increased number of sponsors and news media is making it very expensive for the host cities. Along with professionals came commercialism.


Any athlete that has a sponsor or that is paid to do their event is considered a professional. So that means that there is a lot of sponsors. The sponsors are taking advantage of this 16 day, worldwide broadcast to reach a much larger audience then ever before. Commercial Alert.org says there was a record breaking 63 companies that became sponsors in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. According to the PBS website, the number of sponsors and the amount of commercialism is only going to increase in the years to follow.


The Olympics have gone from a place for amateurs compete against each other, to a place where sponsors and commercialism have taken over. It is quite obvious that there has been significant changes to the old Olympics. In the world of Robert Weissman, managing director of Commercial Alert, “the horse is out of the barn on Olympic sponsorships, and the world is unlikely to see a commercial-free Games anytime soon.”





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