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Vince Lombardi - Winning Is the only Thing That Matters

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Vince Lombardi's statement that "winning is the only thing that matters in sport", is one of the truths that are inherent in the world of sports. Athletes are willing to cheat to guarantee success, either through the use of performance-enhancing drugs, or through the act of injuring others. Lombardi's statement not only applies to athletes, but it also applies to countries that athletes are representing. Events such as the Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey are a source of national pride and some countries are willing to try anything to bring a little prestige back, while other athletes, who are representing their country will resort to unethical tactics. Judges and officials are bribed in order to win events. Lombardi's statement also affects coaches, owners, and managers. They too place winning as their number one concern. Fair play generally takes a back seat to the desire for winning that some will bend rules, while others will outright cheat. The corruptness of sports today has lead to many methods of unethical behaviour.

Winning is a very important thing not only to athletes, but winning is very important to countries as well. In the early 1960s drugs were used more frequently among the communist nations who wanted to enhance their national prestige through sports. Countries such as China and East Germany have been guilty of using such practices as doping their athletes. The glory of winning a gold medal and what will follow after that is more important than anything else. It one of the major influences behind drug use in sports. The main concern now for athletes who are representing their countries is not just about the satisfaction of winning but the rewards for success. The rewards are staggering, as the dollar volume being showered on winners is second to none. The figures have become so mind-boggling that the interests of people involved in this lucrative business is no longer centred around ethical and health-related concerns.

Athletes are willing to give up all that they have worked for their entire lives in order to win a gold medal. Athletes use performance-enhancing drugs to help break records or win gold medals. Blood doping is another example in which athletes attempt to improve performance. Drug related scandals are some of the major concerns with the Olympics. Drug testing was introduced at the Olympics in 1967, when at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Swedish cyclist Knut Jensen took compound drugs to compete in the road race during which he collapsed and died. This incident shocked the international sports world and the International Olympic Committee established a mandatory dope test for all Olympic athletes in 1967. In 1988 Ben Johnson was caught using steroids and had his gold medal stripped from him. Over the years many people have been caught for drug use. These athletes involved range from long-distance runners, weight lifters, and swimmers. In the 1983 Summer Pan American games several gold medal winners were also disqualified for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The prevalence in the use of performance-enhancing drugs shows the athlete's need to succeed. The need to win makes athletes do almost anything to find the extra bit that could make the difference. Many techniques are introduced and employed by athletes in order to gain that advantage in their respective fields. Some athletes try to increase the effectiveness of the drugs by combining them into several combinations. One problem with drug tests is that athletes are now trying to mask their drug use with other drugs that will let them pass their drug tests. Also, some athletes who use steroids months before the games, discontinue their usage a few months before they will be drug tested and then resume after the testing is over. This allows them the possibility of not being caught. Drugs are illicitly taken by athletes in an attempt to improve their performance. Athletes who seek to gain an edge on the competition may resort to drug taking to achieve fame and glory.

Other ways athletes seek an unfair advantage without running the risk of failing the drug tests is through a process known as blood doping. Blood is removed from the athlete's system and then frozen and stored. Over the next several weeks, the athlete's body makes more red blood cells and returns the athlete's blood volume to normal. Just before competition, the stored blood is given back to the athlete. The athlete's blood now contains an above normal number of blood cells. This increased number of blood cells allows the athlete to perform with greater endurance. Although blood boosting can improve athletic performance, it is an extremely dangerous practice. Athletes who do this have an unfair and unnatural advantage over athletes who do not. It is not in the spirit of fair sports competition, but these athletes are more concerned with winning than sportsmanship or their health.

The Olympics have had a history of corrupt judges. In the Seoul Olympics, all Olympic judges and referees were given everything they wanted in exchange for gold medals. The Russian and Korean boxing judges conspired to keep the Americans from winning gold medals. Wehr said, "there were always judges prepared to declare a South Korean boxer victor, even if this was completely ludicrous." The American IBF super middleweight champion of the world, Roy Jones, was "robbed" in a fight with Korea's Park Si-Hun. Jones outboxed Park, landing more punches than park by a count of eighty-six to thirty-two. The Koreans watching the fight were outraged by this decision and Park himself felt that Jones had beaten him. In another fight between Lennox Lewis and American Riddick Bowe, the referee interefered with the match when Lewis started getting tired and disrupting Bowe's concentration, robbing the Americans of another medal.

Coaches, players, and owners and managers place a high value on winning. Coaches are seen as being good coaches or bad coaches based on their records. Those with a winning record are the good coaches and those are the ones who are usually hired by organizations. Those who have losing records for the teams that they work for are usually the scapegoats if the team has a poor season. These coaches who are brought on to a team and produce losing records are fired and replaced. To win a coach will bend rules. They place gamesmanship above sportsmanship and try to stretch the rules as far as they can. Some see the rules as being the only definition of what is right or wrong and if the situation is not in included in the rule book, that it means that its fair to exploit. For example, in 1932, the rules didn't dictate what a uniform could look like, except that the number had to be on the back



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