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Why are professional players allowed in some sports at the olympics and not others? Isn't the Olympics supposed to be for amateur non professional athletes only? Basketball for example, some teams are largely made up of amateur players others have NBA players in their line up, why is this allowed in some sports at the olympics and not in others? In other sports if an athlete accepts sponsorships their classed as professional and no longer allowed to compete, this doesn't seem fair especially as they take the place of hard working amateur athletes who make allot of sacrifices to be where they are especially financially.

asked Jul 30 '12 at 16:40

mutley2209's gravatar image


In fact there is only one sport in the Olympics that does not accept professional players and that is boxing. This is purely for the safety of the competitors. Otherwise there is no distinction made at all between professional, semi-professional and amateur players. The only limit on entry is ability and that is as it should be

The amateur 'ideal' was abandoned as totally impractical at the 1988 competition as it had become increasingly clear that it was near impossible for athletes to maintain the highest standards while retaining amateur status. In fact, many countries such as the USSR and China had for many years had full-time players even if, technically, they were not actually paid to be so, and clearly had a major advantage as a result (although at that time Chinese athletes were often instructed to underperform!). Far from stealing the places of amateur athletes the change of policy was designed entirely to make sure that those who were good enough to compete were not prevented by the cost (both personal and financial) of doing so.

answered Jul 31 '12 at 09:14

dunfiddlin's gravatar image


just doesn't seem fare or right too me, in the football for instance there's nothing to stop each country competing with their regular international side which would basically make it another world cup which many would say is great but it shuts the door on aspiring amateur athletes. And i don't see these professionals turning up on mass at world or regional tournaments but the door is wide open during the Olympics, just has bad idea written all over it for me and seems like a cop out by the IOC instead of tackling the issue :/

(Jul 31 '12 at 10:28) mutley2209 mutley2209's gravatar image

Far from it. The number of competing countries has increased hugely since the change with firsts at every Games. This year the Saudi team includes women competitors for the first time, for example. In football (where there is an age limit for the men to prevent it becoming another World Cup) the African countries have benefited enormously from the opportunity to play professional contemporaries from across the world. Many regulars in top leagues across Europe owe their positions to exposure in this competition.

The introduction of professionals has not only raised the level of the competition but forced many countries to introduce funding schemes to compensate competitors in minor sports for their undoubted sacrifices. There has never been such a great number of opportunities for people with sporting ability if not to make their fortune, at least to do what they most love full time. I really can't see how that can be a bad thing!

(Jul 31 '12 at 10:58) dunfiddlin dunfiddlin's gravatar image

is there a limit to how many professional athletes that compete or is an open door? In the premier league for example there's been debate as to whether each team should have a set minimum of British players in their squads to help develop better international sides since a vast number of players in the league are from outside the UK, something i'm not sure about. Something like that applied to the Olympics would be more accepting for me in which you must have a minimum amount of amateur athletes so the door is always open. Given the choice of choosing a professional footballer over a talented young amateur player more often that not it'll be the professional player chosen, or do trends show otherwise?

One thing though, how does professional athletes being allowed to compete have anything to do with more women taking part? It's just a natural progression of the games with this games being the first where every country has at least one woman in their team :)

(Jul 31 '12 at 11:10) mutley2209 mutley2209's gravatar image
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Asked: Jul 30 '12 at 16:40

Seen: 1,422 times

Last updated: Jul 31 '12 at 11:10