chapter  4
11 Pages

Economies of sport

That sport is big business is unlikely to be disputed, but sports also operate in particular ways because of the merging of personal and collective passion with commercial possibilities and exploitations. Discourses of sport have also been underpinned by the negative associations of sporting success with money. There is often the implication that athletic activity and performance are somehow tainted and discredited by cash incentives. These assumptions are tied up with heroic narratives of sport as well as anxieties about corruption. To focus on the task in hand may also be good advice for embodied sporting practice rather than thinking about the rewards of victory. As the great Czech distance runner, Emile Zatopek, who won the three gold medals for 5000 metres, 10,000 metres and the marathon, breaking the Olympic record at each at Helsinki in 1952, is quoted as saying:

an athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.