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The pretence that the athlete has the status of an amateur, when he or she is in fact a full-time and/or professional sportsman or -woman. This pretence was at its height in the later 1970s and the early 1980s when the International Olympic Committee was moving towards the acceptance of the principle of professionalism, and some athletes—nominally amateur—could divert all their income into trust funds, for use on international travel or anything at all that could be linked to their training needs. In some sports, amateurs also accepted under-the-table payments to wear particular apparel or use specific brands of equipment. State socialist societies had also supported the shamateur quite blatantly, in giving individuals positions in, say, the military, while they led the life of the full-time elite competitor.

Subjects: Social sciencesSociology

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