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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 ?
He added the name on the ID card and the passport did not match up and the offence was amateurish.
In a statement, Namfrel hit Smartmatic for what it described an amateurish error.
GARY LINEKER has criticised England's "exasperatingly amateurish approach" not to select their best available squad for the Under-21 European Championship.
Because under Carver they will continue to be as amateurish as they are, a new coach might want higher standards, might want to sort them out, and more importantly, remove some of the dross from the payroll as soon as possible.
FOILED LIDL ARMED ROBBER HAD SENTENCE CUT AFTER PLEADING ARMED RAID WAS 'AMATEURISH' Will Dowling: Surely conspiracy to rob is conspiracy to rob, no matter how amateurish the final product was.
The latest odyssey of Indiana Jones in Macedonia in search of Alexander the Great's tomb has little chances to excite the world public because, from far away, one can see that it is too amateurish.
In Barcelona we played with our hearts on our sleeves and did the best we possibly could with the limited funding we had, but compared to now it was completely amateurish.
This was a crudely-executed, perhaps not frivolous but rather amateurish, attempt to obtain money from Mr Ecclestone," the Sun quoted prosecutor Philip Lemoine as telling the court.
The defendant made absolutely nothing from this very amateurish attempt.
Most of today's TV is coarse, repellent, amateurish and puerile" - Actress Joan Collins.
Sheriff Jack McGowan told Dundas: "It has been mentioned that this was an amateurish attempt at a robbery - but you did your best.
By modern standards, the espionage was amateurish and of questionable value.

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