Name: Instructor: Course: Sociology Date: June 15, 2011 In Support of Olympic Judging Objectivity This paper will argue in support of the proposition that: Because of the intrusion of politics in judging such events as gymnastics, the Olympic games should consist only of sports decided objectively, by times, goals, and points…
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The fourth assumption is that more objective judging is better than more subjective judging at Olympic events. This paper will treat each of these four assumptions as sequential arguments which, once explained, will provide a case for the support of this proposition. Politics has been intruding into the judging of some Olympic events. Straight Dope’s message board (Adams, 2011) asked posters for mentions of particularly controversial Olympic judging subjectivity. The posted responses were international in scope and covered a number of sporting events, with considerable repetition. Examples of cited controversies with political allegations included; the Gold medal basketball game between Americans and Soviets, at the 1972 Summer Olympics, in which officials repeatedly re-set the clock in alleged bias against the Americans an Olympic fighting event in which obvious bias by bribed judges (later suspended) was shown against the Americans and in favor of the South Koreans, in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul an ice-dancing event in 1998, in which bias against the Canadians, due to corruption and collusion among 3 judges, was proven judging scandals in the 2002 pairs figure skating event and in the women’s ice hockey final a 2004 men’s gymnastics controversy Research examining Olympic judge bias in figure-skating events from 1948 to 2002, during and after the Cold War, found that three factors influenced scoring: performance quality based on shared standards, national identity and patriotic self-interest, and the status of skater national identities (friend, rival, enemy) (Sala, Scott, Spriggs, 2007). Our first argument, that politics has been intruding into the judging of some Olympic events, clearly has merit. Our second argument is that this political intrusion is something that should be corrected. This preference is clearly expressed on message board postings, but is also expressed by sporting experts who are responsible for formally managing event judging. News accounts abound about the embarrassment caused by politically biased judging, and there have been inquiries and suspensions in various scandals, obviously aimed at discouraging nationalistic bias. In one particularly memorable case, the whole entire Soviet judging core was suspended for nationalistic bias, in 1978-79 (Sala, Scott, Spriggs, 2007). Another type of example is the report by the FEI Dressage Task Force (DTF). The DTF was founded with international representation, in response to judging controversies at the 2008 Olympics. The 50 page report refers to judging as the “most emotional issue in the sport”, and they recommend assessment, evaluation, education, clear position guidelines, and check and balance for judges, in order to maximize ethical judging of their sport (Braddick, 2009). The third argument of our proposition is that the emphasis of times, goals, and points, in judging Olympic events, will lead to less subjective, more objective judging. Certainly this argument is a sensible one for the modern era, in which the greatest respect is reserved for science. The baseline mythology of modern science is that subjective truth is not consensual, non-replicable, disorganized, inaccurate, too often based on emotion and superstition. The scientific method is embraced as a way to struggle toward objectivity and consensus. We
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