Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous chemists who are willing to risk the reputation of athletes whose only goal is to win. Commercial interests are more important to these companies than the health and welfare of athletes. They can also have no regard for fairness in sport. These chemists are trying to stay one-step ahead of ethical chemists who are trying to eradicate the use of drugs in sport. Across the world, there is recognition that education plays a key role in preventing athletes from taking drugs. For example, the Australian Sports Drug Agency is very active in promoting ethical and medical explanations for excluding drugs in sport.
Sport has been a means of entertaining the public, in some cases bringing hundreds of thousands of people to see a particular sporting event. In front of all these people, and massive television audiences, there is a huge opportunity for companies to advertise their products e.g., perimeter advertising is sold to commercial organisations, and the logos on clothing. Sponsorship is beneficial to both parties- as money is created for both sides. Large companies tend to sponsor large or wealthy teams, for example, Carlsberg beer is a worldwide brand, which sponsor an extremely large football club-Liverpool who are very successful. Individual players within a team can be endorsing different products for example, two Manchester United players endorsed different products/companies, Eric Cantona endorsed Nike, whilst Ryan Giggs endorsed Reebok. The players would have received a lot of money from the deals with these companies. Individual athletes may also have an agent who promotes him/her to gain financial benefit for them; in effect, they are being marketed in a professionally planned promotion.
Coca cola has made a huge impact on the sponsorship scene; they view sports sponsorship as a way of gaining access to their customers. They like to be linked to a sport rather than a team and currently have a five-year contract at Wimbledon tennis championships. In addition to entertaining influential clients there, any drinks used by players or officials are contained in a coca cola cup. They are marketing their product in a high profile television event. In the USA, the Olympic Stadium at Atlanta was almost rebuilt by coca cola.
The money generated by sponsorship and advertising has been a key factor in the development of many sports. There are some disadvantages though. Sponsors usually want to be involved with high profiled sports and teams, to the detriment of minority sports, e.g. the world squash championships were cancelled due to a lack of sponsor and as a result, no guaranteed television coverage. High profile football matches that are televised have a detrimental effect on attendance figures at matches in lower leagues. Tobacco advertising was banned from British television from 1965, and the companies have used sport to be a medium where their products can be advertised. They sponsor motor racing, tennis, cricket, golf, show jumping, snooker. It seems that sport is good for tobacco, however tobacco is not good (health wise) for sport. Unfortunately, it appears the two can not live without each other, as the government could not match the funding brought in by commercial interest.
The Olympic games are a prime example of how political and commercial influences, affect sport. The ethos of the games is laid out in the following message, which appears on every scoreboard at every Olympic Games: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have found well.”
The Olympic Games are among the world’s greatest sporting events. Baron Pierre de Coubertin established the modern games in 1896. Whilst visiting England in the nineteenth centaury, he was impressed with the amateur code of public school team games, and the athleticism of the students. De Coubertin wished to draw countries together in healthy competition, the new games to be above political issues and for the importance of winning to be kept in perspective. The games are still going strong in today’s modern world, but not without cost. The games have been affected by wider political situations, and are often remembered as much for the politics events surrounding them as the athletic feats. One of the key reasons for this is that the games have provided a focus for the country hosting the event.
Their political systems are given prominent media coverage and instances having occurred where governments have used this to promote their own political message, e.g. Hitler in the Berlin Games of 1936. They can also be an opportunity for opponents to the government to make a political protest when the attention of the world is on the Games. This has often resulted in countries boycotting the Games e.g. in 1972 Rhodesia’s invitation to the Munich Games was withdrawn because of apartheid and other countries refused to compete with them. There are positive political reasons why a country would like to host the Olympic Games, as they would bring jobs and world status and recognition to the host country. There would be improved infrastructure, as well as new stadiums for local people, which has happened in Sydney who hosted the 2000 Games.
Business opportunities for the commercial sector would be enhanced due to the increased publicity and bring money into the economy. Sponsorship deals would be highly sought after for the athletes. It was a controversial decision to allow China to host the 2008 Games, because many people are not satisfied with the human rights standards in the country due to communism.
For the athletes concerned, the chance to compete in the Olympic Games, gives them the opportunity to compete in their sport at the highest possible level and bring increased public recognition to them and their sport. It is also an opportunity to acquire funding through sponsorship deals. On the other hand, athletes could feel under pressure to perform for monitory gain rather than for the pure love of the sport, and the Olympic foundation aims. This could lead to pressure to take drugs, or push themselves to the point of injury.