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Degrees of DifficultyHow Women's Gymnastics Rose to Prominence and Fell from Grace$
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Georgia Cervin

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043772

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043772.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

From Amateurism to Professionalism

From Amateurism to Professionalism

(p.35) 2 From Amateurism to Professionalism
Degrees of Difficulty

Georgia Cervin

University of Illinois Press

Chapter 2 argues that Olympic economic policy was a place of challenge in Cold War gymnastics, rather than cooperation, with opposing views extending from fans and media to differences between the Federation internationale de gymnastique (FIG) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Amateurism was a major issue for the IOC under Avery Brundage’s presidency, forbidding athletes any financial benefit from sport. State support rendered the amateur status of Eastern bloc gymnasts questionable. For US gymnasts, the amateur rule contributed to the decreased age of their best women, despite opportunities in collegiate gymnastics. Changed economic prospects coincided with the rise of US gymnastics. By the 1970s, the Olympics were commercializing, with Adidas branding appearing on leotards. By the 1980s, the games were professionalizing, as athletes advertised products and launched entertainment careers. But the FIG remained opposed to professionalization, leading to financial trouble in the 1990s and increasing its dependence on the IOC.

Keywords:   Age, Amateurism, Avery Brundage, Collegiate, Commercialization, professionalization

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