Throughout history, sports have shaped the quest for national identity. The pursuit of physical excellence has also served as a socialization mechanism. Many actors have played this role, including elite athletes, coaches, and peers.
The late 19th century marked a period of self-imposed sports isolation for the Soviet Union. A water-polo match between the Soviet Union and Hungary in the Olympics served as a symbol of national identity politics. The Soviet Union’s defeat in both cases was viewed as a reaffirmation of national identity.
In 1952, the Soviet Union broke free from its sports isolation. It began to recruit athletes from Western nations, notably South America, as well as recruit sports scientists from the former Soviet bloc. In Hungary, reformist efforts were suppressed by the Soviet Union in 1956.
During this period, sports became increasingly commercialized, with more athletes competing for a paycheck. This increased the “brawn drain” of the sports.
The sports world became divided into core and semiperipheral blocs based on culture and economics. The core sports world includes the United States, Russia, and Australia. These countries are characterized by stiff competition, better training facilities, and greater financial rewards. The semiperipheral sports world includes South Korea, Japan, and South Africa.
Sport is usually governed by a set of rules to ensure fair competition. The rules also provide consistent adjudication of a winner. The rules also guide athletes as they manage their emotions.
Emotions are a crucial component of sports. They can occur before, during, or after a performance. They also play a role in defining the roles of participants, coaches, and spectators.