a contest held to determine the best athletes and teams and greatest achievements in sports, to improve athletic skills, and to popularize physical culture and sports. Sports competitions provide an opportunity to evaluate objectively the sports organizations, coaches, athletes, and officials.
International sports competitions are an important means of strengthening friendship and mutual understanding among athletes of different countries. World sports competitions include the Olympic Games, the World Student Games, world championships and world cups, and specialized Olympiads, for example, in chess. They also include continental championships, cups, and national games and competitions. Competitions may be held in a single sport or in various sports, for example in the Olympic Games, World Student Games, and Spartakiads, including Spartakiads of Friendly Armies and Spartakiads of the Peoples of the USSR.
Depending on the purposes and circumstances of the events, sports competitions may involve individual competition, team competition, or a combination of the two. Official competitions for the title of champion, a cup, or other prize are distinguished from qualifying competitions, which determine the eligibility of participants for the main event, and exhibition matches, including traditional competitions, such as track and field meets between the USSR and the USA.
A sports competition may be conducted as a round robin, that is, a contest in which all participants compete against one another once or several times and the points won by each entrant are totaled. It may be conducted on the basis of elimination, by which losers are disqualified, or as a combination of the round robin and the elimination system.
Separate competitions are held for men and women, with the exception of equestrian sports and certain sports demonstrating specific technical skills. Separate competitions are also held for adults, juniors, and children. Some sports, for example, tennis and table tennis, allow for competition by mixed doubles, and men and women compete together in pairs figure skating and ice dancing. Sports competitions are regulated by appropriate official rules, which determine the requirements for participants, judges, sports facilities, and equipment, as well as the conditions and procedures for determining winners and results. Officials see that the rules established for sports competitions are followed and that proper results are recorded.
A. I. KOLESOV