The range of heroes constructed in sports films can be mapped onto the discourse of real-life athletics as well. An examination of patterns of the hero within fictional films and sports biographies reveals some repetition and overlap of the idea of the hero. Sports films substitute the realm of the playing field which then serves as a multiple signifier, both for the apolitical "pure" realm of individual physical achievement and as a highly charged political arena for the resolution of social issues. The function of the field relates closely to the film's task of hero-construction. Older films dealing with the hero subordinate other issues such as questions of gender and race around the term. When, however, the study moves into contemporary films, the project of hero-construction clashes with other ideological trajectories, such as the liberal discourse on race and gender.