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A case for sport as art

by Tiffany Lafleur August 30, 2016
A case for sport as art

Art is all around us – even in athleticsGymnastics as art - Florence Yee

Another edition of the Summer Olympic Games has wrapped up, and with it, the greatest athletes in the world return to their home countries.  Some are proudly weighed down with gold, silver or bronze medals around their necks and hard-earned international recognition.

Graphic by Florence Yee

Graphic by Florence Yee

The sacrifice, perseverance and motivation required to qualify for any international competition cannot be underscored. A lifetime of training and conditioning goes into qualifying for races that only last the time it takes to blink three times. At such high levels of competition, an athlete’s physical capabilities are typically bragged about: extreme strength, agility and power.

However, another athletic quality that is just as important, yet not fairly mentioned, is the artistry.  Although arts and sports might seem like polar opposites, they do go hand in hand to some degree. In sports such as swimming, what distinguishes a first-place finish from the second spot on the podium can come down to technique.

In gymnastics, synchronized swimming and even rowing, the performance becomes something akin to an art form. Rowers must be in perfect synchronicity with each other in order to be efficient. Gymnasts must wow the judges with the precision of their performances, but also with the creative aspect of them. Synchronized swimmers must deliver a spectacular performance—while submerged and holding their breaths.

These athletes have made something excruciatingly difficult and physically demanding seem easy, just as ballet and theatre do. No one would contest the artistically physical aspect of a ballerina. Therefore, sports should be recognized for their physical artistry as well.


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