Abstract

As a core and enduring ideal that influenced sports throughout the world for over a century, amateurism has long fascinated scholars. While historians have examined the social origins of amateurism within its institutional seedbed in Britain, the subject has proven resistant to extensive scholarly analysis. Many questions still remain unanswered: What were the mechanisms that took amateurism around the world? How was amateurism received outside of Britain? Was amateurism a monolithic, homogenous term? Or, alternatively, was it malleable, selective and fluid, transforming itself within and across national boundaries? A coordinated effort by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the popular British newspaper, Sporting Life, attempted to craft a universal amateur definition across all sports in the aftermath of the controversial 1908 Olympic games in London. The IOC’s difficulties in establishing an international consensus in the years prior to the Great War revealed that amateurism, even within the British Isles, was a vibrant, variegated ideology possessing chameleon-like qualities. The sheer breadth and malleability of amateurism meant that it proved to be impossible to legislate for the status of an amateur on a global scale.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2155-8455
Print ISSN
0094-1700
Pages
pp. 95-116
Launched on MUSE
2014-05-10
Open Access
No
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