Contemplating on sport ethics and fair play we collide to the fundamental dimensions of sport and of human being. Obviously we need to ask ourselves for what is it all about; for sport or for human being? It is about both! Although it is clear to us: there is no sport without human being! Well?!
Since elite sport, according to our interpretation, is a competitive practice, it creates an environment where it is not difficult to see that everyone is in competition with everyone else for the goodies of pleasure, status, power, and material wealth. Why would sport science and sport industry invest so much time, energy, and money in sport if not for some benefits they expect from it? It seems like each party involved in sport is fundamentally selfish.
For example, sports federations have significantly increased the intensity of sporting calendar. Modern technology, architecture and science have achieved astonishing feats in indoor sports. Practically any sport can now be practiced – with slide modification – indoor, where environmental conditions are under control. The media, as a main partner of elite sport is also dictating the pace of the whole thing. Tour de France is an example of media creating the sport, and Olympics are not very much different.
The power of media capital has been shown many times in time schedules of the competitions, reaching down to the core of the game – rule changing. To whose interest, and to whose benefit are the standards changed. Early morning or late night competitions are no more questioned by athletes. They have their own interests that they cannot achieve without media attention. It is a complex web of relations where everyone supposes to benefit. Is this possible? Hardly. But this is what psychological egoism is trying to impose. Everyone is fundamentally selfish, when competition is going on. Moreover, competition is not only going on at the sporting fields, but around and under them as well. Everyone involved is just seeking for one’s own advantage or for something in return to his service. The acts of altruism or sincere fair play are just moments of weakness. It is the “good guys finish last” principle, which warns from being too generous in such environment. Luckily this is only the dark side of the moon.
It is good if we recognize a grain of truth in competitive sport and motivation explained by psychological egoism. Although it is hard to see the world of sport competition in the coloures of cooperation fine tuning offers us an exit. We might discover non-selfish acts of cooperation. And that is not accessible to average and superficial observer. Hard to admit, but it is just not of equal importance. But…
Fine tuning is for those who search for perfection, but for the many winning is good enough. Fine tuning is what distinguish a real champion from solely a winner.
Dr. Milan Hosta, Director
International Institute for Sustainable Development, Diplomacy, and Policy in Sport