Which sport produces the best athletes


For the world of sports, one of its fundamental ideas is to find the best in all sports. We are looking for the sportsman of the year, the footballer of the year and the track and field athlete of the year. In some sports you are also looking for the athlete of the century. In the meantime, some sports have set up a “Hall of Fame” and here, too, only the best should be given a place in the ancestral culture of a sport. If both genders play a sport, there is a female and a male variant of the search and if the sport is practiced as a team sport, the search for the team of the year is logical.

In the competitions of the various sports you can find the best on the basis of codified rules. These specify the framework conditions for determining a winner in a handball game, the best in a 100m run or in a shooting competition. The principle of fair play is fundamental for the rules laid down in the respective sports, because the best performance should be provided in an honest and fair manner. Cheaters should not be the best, but those who have shown themselves to be the best in an equitable competition thanks to their personal achievements should be honored.

For “election competitions” in sport, there are seldom codified rules for good reason. Most of the time, only a few principles are given, which those who cast their vote have to orientate themselves to in order to choose the athlete or the footballer of the year. For the athletes in these competition-like disputes, the question arises whether the principle of fair play, which is so important for sport, is adequately observed and whether athletes have equal opportunities to achieve the extraordinary dignity of athlete of the year. In a world of top-class sport, which is shaped by a triangular relationship between the mass media, the economy and the audience, and at the center of which are the economic interests of sport, these elections are undoubtedly not just about fame, but also to a considerable extent the market value of athletes, and for obvious reasons, each of these choices is made out of promotional and communication interests guided by the logic of investment and return.

This is one of the reasons why there are many athletes' honors in the world of sport in which the voting decisions are suspected of being tampered with. Many international sports organizations only award athletes with special decorations if their presence at the corresponding gala is guaranteed, and the criteria that led to the selection of certain athletes are almost always not disclosed.

If one looks at the increasingly inflationary awards from this point of view and takes note of the increasingly frequent criticism of the athletes in this context, then it seems that considerable doubts are justified as to whether the principle of fair play is adequately observed in these stage competitions of Olympic sport becomes.

In a sport like athletics, it is extremely unlikely that a hammer thrower, however successful, could become Athlete of the Year. At the World Championships and the Olympic Games, he can only ever win one gold medal, while sprinters can travel home from a major event with three gold medals, as has almost been a matter of course for Usain Bolt in recent years. If a successful sprinter and a successful thrower stand for election, it is almost a matter of course that no matter how the jury is composed, the decision will be made on the sprinter. Wouldn't it be fairer, therefore, to forego the election of a track and field athlete of the year and instead award the thrower of the year, the jumper of the year and the runner of the year. Do goalkeepers have comparably good opportunities to achieve the highest title in the election for Footballer of the Year, such as those strikers who are characterized by many shots on goal? What chance does a defender have if he wants to be named Footballer of the Year? Wouldn't a differentiation between defense, attack and goalkeeper also be a fairer solution?

Can the top performances at the Pyongyang Winter Olympics be compared with the top performances in summer sports that year? Is a swimming relay victory comparable to a volleyball team victory? These and similar questions are brought into the discussion. Most of the time you would like to see your own successful athletes placed at the front. Other sports, on the other hand, are very quickly questioned in a polemical way. Fencing is referred to as "pole boxing". In the four-man bobsleigh, you ask about the Olympic performance of those athletes who sit between the pilot and the brakeman, and in the new Olympic winter discipline Aerial you see a plagiarism of water jumping. Professional athletes are viewed with particular skepticism, even if all the others have long ceased to be amateurs. The football professionals are met with the greatest skepticism.

If one observes these discussions from a certain distance, one can see that in the world of high-performance sport it has indeed become extremely difficult to find standards of quality with which outstanding performance can be distinguished from less outstanding performance. With the inflation of sports, competitions and championships and with the multiplication of disciplines within the sports, the possibility of marking truly outstanding achievements has been increasingly lost.

It is understandable and understandable why a jury gives special attention to a repeated top performance. If a winner has won Formula 1 for the fourth time in a row, the fourth win is rated higher than the third. The probability is therefore given that by repeating his performance he will be voted Athlete of the Year again if he has already achieved this in the year before with an almost identical but not entirely comparable performance. But here, too, the question arises whether the possibility of repeated victory in all sports arises in the same way. If you compare the sports from this point of view, you will quickly see that there are some sports in which multiple wins are highly unlikely, while others give athletes the opportunity to maintain their top position over the years.

If an athlete wants to be accepted into the “Hall of Fame” for athletes, he must meet various conditions. His career must have ended for at least ten years, he must have won at least two gold medals and he should have set a world record in his discipline. This is without a doubt a demanding hurdle, so that the "Hall of Fame" of athletics will not be overpopulated too quickly in view of its 47 individual disciplines. The question that arises, however, is whether these hurdles are fairly constructed. Sprinters can overcome them with a single World Championship or with a one-time participation in the Olympic Games, whereas a high jumper must have been successful in at least two major events. In almost all disciplines it was earlier possible to beat world records than is the case today. Some world records have existed for over a decade and indicate that performance in this discipline has reached its limit. In other disciplines, the limit seems to be a long way off. Some world records also seem unattainable because there is a suspicion that they were achieved with drug manipulation.

If one has an entire century in mind when evaluating, one realizes that it is obviously very difficult to compare past performance with today's performance. Centennial events and achievements of the century always seem to be the most recent because they can be used to give a spectacle outstanding status. Whether the most recent event is actually more significant than the earlier event cannot be assessed.

Many more could be added to the examples shown. They all make it clear that there is no doubt that the question of fair play arises in the honorary competitions of sport and that the increasingly frequent criticism of the athletes regarding the selection principles of these honors is justified. Not least from a marketing point of view, it is therefore important that those who are responsible for these athletes' competitions constantly strive to improve the terms and conditions of these competitions with a view to the principle of fair play and to ensure a competent jury that is aware of the importance of fairness Plays is aware.

The discussion about honoring athletes points to a general problem. It shows up in the context of the Olympic Games, it is found within the various types of sport and, in the broadest sense, it relates to the principle of performance, which should be characteristic and determining for high-performance sport. With good reason, when the modern Olympic Games were developed, rules were defined that can be used to decide when a sport can be Olympic. The global spread of a sport was certainly the most important prerequisite. But these rules have long since become implausible. Sports have recently become Olympic because they are considered to be particularly “youthful”. Other sports are particularly suited to the interests of television. The question of marketing a sport also plays a role. Probably the most reliable criterion for determining athletic performance, the existence of a quantitatively and qualitatively defined performance pyramid, has long since been almost overridden. In one sport you emerge as an Olympic champion from a competition in which more than 200 nations have participated. In the other Olympic discipline, there are hardly more than 30 countries taking part in their competition. Quotation systems have resulted in teams winning medals in Olympic competitions such as the Youth Olympic Games that would not even have been able to qualify for continental decisions on another continent.

If we look at the profiles of top athletic performance in the various sports, we must recognize that there are also considerable differences. A player of an Olympic handball national team must be characterized by a level of performance that is extremely complex. Top cognitive performance is just as essential here as endurance, strength, speed, physical fitness and much more. On the other hand, there are other sports in which perseverance is the only difference between victory and defeat. Tactics, sophistication, and strategy tend to have an orderly meaning. In others, strength is monotonous.

The achievement of top athletic performance is not infrequently found in difficult relationships of dependency that can only be influenced to a limited extent by the respective top athlete. Does he play z. B. in the double finals of an Olympic tennis tournament, his performance can be outstanding and yet it is not enough to win because his partner has no comparable performance. However, top sporting performance is usually also dependent on various forms of support. Technologies and materials provided by experts can make success possible, but they can also prevent it. Coach decisions can also make success possible, but they can also make them unlikely. The influence of coaching on top athletic performance in individual sports is probably seen by everyone. The extent and role of coaching for top athletic performance has so far been largely unexplored.

The understandable wish, as these examples seem to suggest, that top athletic performance should be judged fairly, seems to be unattainable in today's world. If other criteria are added to the assessment of top athletic performance, such as the personality of the athlete, his role model, his fair play behavior, as one has to wish for the choice of an athlete of the year, it can be seen that the diverse subjective Criteria that, for example, a jury of specialist journalists use as a basis when they choose the athlete and the team of the year, are probably the fairest and yet this choice is rightly perceived by many as not fair. If this is the case, one can only wish that the discussions about the annual sports honors are not taken too seriously. If athlete elections are a social event that does justice to the interests of top athletes, then they have a value in themselves. If it is possible to repeatedly bring beautiful sporting achievements into the limelight without damaging others, then one can also rely on the questionable competence of the national and international jury experts in the future.

Topic assignment: high-performance sport Keywords: athletes, fair play, society, high-performance sport by Helmut Digel. Permanent link to the entry.