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in sports, one who engages in athletic competition without material recompense. Upper-class Englishmen in the 19th cent. used the concept to help define their social status, first applying the term to sportsmen who did not need to work with their hands as livelihood, later using it to describe anyone who competed without pay. By the beginning of the 20th cent., leaders of two major sports movements, the American intercollegiate athletic system and the Olympic Games (revived in 1896), had adopted amateurism, claiming it developed competitors who were morally superior to professionals. In a famous incident, Olympic officials stripped decathlete Jim ThorpeThorpe, Jim
(James Francis Thorpe), 1888–1953, American athlete, b. near Prague, Okla. Thorpe was probably the greatest all-round male athlete the United States has ever produced. His mother, a Sac, named him Bright Path.
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 of two gold medals won at the 1912 Games because he had once accepted money to play baseball. Although almost all athletic structures not organized as professional ventures came to embrace amateurism as policy, athletes often subverted the code, forcing officials to constantly revise standards. From the outset, colleges allowed payment of educational expenses to athletes. In 1974, after Communist bloc nations had been subsidizing their athletes for two decades, the Olympics ceded to athletes the right to compensation for loss of salary during training, and shortly thereafter permitted professionals in sports whose governing bodies did not object. By the 1960s top-ranked golf and tennis amateurs had forced major tournaments to allow professional entrants. As evidenced by the return of Thorpe's medals in 1982, amateurism by the 1990s was a concept of diminished importance and one more of technical than moral distinction. The major organizations involved in the supervision of amateur athletics in the United States are the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), responsible for college and university sports, and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), responsible for most other areas of amateur competition.


See J. Lucas, The Modern Olympic Games (1980).

References in periodicals archive ?
Manley, who won his first merit title at the Duncan Putter in March and came second at last weekend's St Andrews Trophy over the Old Course, hopes home advantage in South Wales will help him qualify for the matchplay stages of Europe's leading amatuer event for the first time.
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Top of Division One in County Amatuer League, Newsome went to Scissett and won 4-1 but the other teams from this division lost to District League sides.
The company also today announced release of the newest version of its app in North America, where it now includes listings for almost 90 percent of amatuer sports leagues across basketball, softball, soccer, football, rugby, kickball, and many others.
These included wins in York, Blackpool and the Scottish National in Glasgow while competing at many swimming galas for Morpeth Amatuer Swimming Club and athletic events for Morpeth Harriers.
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Major Richard Carney MBE, General Manager, AMATUER SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR Joe Fraser AFTER battling injury and growth issues, Joe Fraser was selected as the youngest member of the GB European Team at the at the T European Championships in Bulgaria this year.
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Victory was a sweet moment for Rose, who shot to fame as a teenage amatuer by chipping in at The Open at Birkdale in 1998 to finish in a tie for fourth.
The Great Britain amatuer light-heavyweight is struggling to deal with being snubbed for an invitational place at London 2012, given the slot has gone to Montenegro's Bosko Draskovic, a man he beat by 10 points in April.