Sport, Amateur and professional

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Summary

Sport (or sports) is all forms of usually competitive physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those requiring only two participants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals.

Details

Sport can be undertaken on an amateur, professional or semi-professional basis, depending on whether participants are incentivised for participation (usually through payment of a wage or salary).

The popularity of spectator sport as a recreation for non-participants has led to sport becoming a major business in its own right, and this has incentivised a high paying professional sport culture, where high performing participants are rewarded with pay far in excess of average wages, which can run into millions of dollars.

Some sports, or individual competitions within a sport, retain a policy of allowing only amateur sport. The Olympic Games started with a principle of amateur competition with those who practiced a sport professionally considered to have an unfair advantage over those who practiced it merely as a hobby. Following the 1988 games, the IOC decided to make all professional athletes eligible for the Olympics, with only boxing and wrestling still competed on an "amateur" basis, although this revolves around rules, and not payment.

Grassroots sport is a popular phrase which covers the amateur participation in sport at lower levels, normally without pretension towards higher achievement, and is in line with the "sport for all" mentality, where enjoyment is the primary reason for participation.

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