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01-04-2013, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by predfan98 View Post
read a little history and realize things are different than they used to be, and different in every sport and in every country.
That doesn't seem to be what the article is saying (unless you're actually being sarcastic):

"The pros are there for a reason," the esteemed sports journalist Ron Rapoport, who has covered six Olympics, told me the other night. "People will tune in to watch athletes they know. The pro athletes are pre-sold to the public, which means increased viewership."

What made it an easy sell was the suspicion that athletes from certain Eastern Bloc nations were de facto professionals anyway: They were supported full-time by their governments to train and compete. So, by the end of the 1980s, the move toward professionalization of the Olympics had gained full steam.

Which seemed to be just fine with the fans. If the best athletes were paid for their skills, or for granting endorsements, why not? The concept of "selling out" -- once such a pejorative -- had become almost meaningless. Making a lot of money for being good at a sport was a badge of honor.

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