It seems that every four years this happens. People start arguing what a "real sport" is and if figure skating should be part of the Olympics. Yesterday someone tweeted that "figure skating is not a sport and should not be part of the olympics!"
The tweeter insisted figure skating is an artistic, recreational activity and not a "real sport" like baseball, hockey, or football. Which leads hin to "since figure skating is not a sport and should not be part of the olympics".
I googled the matter and found that the "figure skating is not a sport" crowd like to come up with there own definitions of what a sport is; "must involve a ball", "must have teams", "should not be judged", "must have a highest, fastest, score"
It seems like a good idea to look up the definition of the word in a dictionary. Let's see what Oxford, Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, and others give as the precise meaning of the word. I looked up the definition of the word sport in five separate dictionaries and found it to be pretty consistent:
- An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.
- Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
- A game, competition or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job
- An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
- An activity, esp. when competitive, requiring more or less vigorous bodily exertion and carried on, sometimes as a profession, according to some traditional form or set of rules, whether outdoors, as football, golf, etc., or indoors, as basketball, bowling...
- Is governed by a set of rules based on the International Judging System.
- Is of a competitive in nature from the lowest basic skills level to the senior level.
- Requires skill and prowess.
- Requires vigorous bodily exertion.
- Involves individuals and/or teams competing against each other.
So figure skating meets the criteria of the definitions from all these dictionaries and therefore:
Figure skating is a sport!
Now the definition of the Olympics was pretty much the same in all the dictionaries I checked:
- A group of modern international athletic contests held as separate winter and summer competitions every four years in a different city. In 1994 the winter games were moved ahead two years so that the winter and summer games would alternate every two years.
- A modified revival of the ancient Olympic Games consisting of international athletic contests that are held at separate winter and summer gatherings at four year intervals
What will really knock you socks off is the definition of the original ancient Olympic Games.
- A Pan-Hellenic festival in ancient Greece consisting of athletic games and contests of choral poetry and dance, first celebrated in 776 b.c. and held periodically until a.d. 393 on the plain of Olympia in honor of the Olympian Zeus.
- An ancient Pan-hellenic festival held every fourth year and made up of contests of sports, music, and literature with the victor's prize a crown of wild olive
So those of you who think Ice Dancing should not be part of the Olympics are wrong as well.
Two of the critics on blogs who made statements that figure skating is an "art form" or "recreational activity" and not a "real sport" were a baseball fan and a golf enthusiast. "Cm on, It is just a bunch of people dressed in sequined costumes skating around to music!"