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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Taking into account low impact sports how do you define who is an athlete?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26879points) July 30th, 2010

How would you solve this debate, when it comes to sports many people say whoever participates in it has to be an athlete. There are sports like golf, sailing, bowling, car racing horse racing that even though some take muscle they are not overly physical. Then there is dancing which compared to golf or car racing is way more physical. Do you see dancers as athletes? Do you see participants of low impact sports like bowling, horse or car racing as athletes? To be an athlete do you have to use at least 50% of your muscle or your body in a physical manner like throwing, kicking, running, etc.?

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14 Answers

truecomedian's avatar

All sports, even the silly ones, can almost be listed from least to greatest to the degree of physicality. Which is great because it organizes everything. The body is the obvious part of any sport, and one’s heart or spirit is less noted. Sports like MMA are more physical so more towards the top, and some sport like Curling would be closer to the bottom. I’m not going to rate Horse Racing, because those jockey’s can kick ass, they might be small but there definitely athletic. I’m six six and I was having a drink at the bar at the race track, near a pack of jockey’s. To make a long story short I had to out drink this jockey, or leave the bar. I lost.

Cruiser's avatar

IMO a person trained to compete in sports, any sport is an athlete…training to compete is key to me.

BoBo1946's avatar

Speed, quickness, and jumping ability. Oh, a great hand and eye abilities.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I like @Cruiser‘s definition. Training shows and requires a certain level of dedication. Also, I’d like to add that I think of dance more as music or an art. I don’t dance, never will. I just know a few people who absolutely love it and they have changed my opinion on it.

meagan's avatar

I wouldn’t call dancers or bowlers athletes. I understand the extreme training that professional dancers go through.. But isn’t athlete kind of an aggressive, masculine word? Maybe thats just my own opinion.
But there isn’t much sweat, blood and tears that goes into bowling.

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChocolateReigns yes, those come later…but, must have some abilities to perfect those skills.

Cruiser's avatar

@meagan I know bowlers don’t exude athlete status worthy of Nike sponsorship, but the training pro bowlers do rivals that of baseball players plus the 100 games a day most bowl to stay in top form. That is tossing a 15 lb ball over a thousand times a day.

Plus retired hall of fame bowler Carmen Salvino is a personal friend of mine and he would do 90 push-ups a day on the back of his wrists to build his arm and wrist strength. I challenge anyone here to do just one. At 77 years old he can still rip off 10 in a row on concrete!

I would add an athlete is an individual who is dedicated to his training to compete in sports any sport!

BoBo1946's avatar

Bowling is about coordination and good hand and eye abilities. One that was not mentioned is Nascar. Those guys are good athletes also. Takes physical and mental toughness.

Still believe, whatever sport a person decides to concentrate on, the physical abilities has to be their first, then perfect those abilities.

drClaw's avatar

An athlete is defined as a person that regularly plays in a sport and anything competitive can be considered a sport. So basically if you are competing in pie eating at elite levels you are an athlete.

Personally however the majority of my respect/admiration is reserved for physical athletes. Fighters, football players, skateboarders, runners… the list goes on. Not to say that non physical athletes don’t impress as well (pool players, poker players, etc).

BoBo1946's avatar

If a person is an athlete, he can learn any sport.

Definition of athlete according to the dictionary: 1. (Individual Sports & Recreations / Athletics (Track & Field)) a person trained to compete in sports or exercises involving physical strength, speed, or endurance

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@BoBo1946 Based off that definition there would seem to be a lot of sports in which there is said to be athletes that really have no athletes. I did mention car and horse racing, car racers have to have mental toughness and they have to have skill, same as a yachtsnam, golfer, archer, and bowler, but the car is doing 80% or more of the work. Just because a racer is stronger than another doesn’t assure victory if his equipment fails him, a jockey won’t win because he can out bench the other jockies by 75lb if his mount is sick, slow, or ortherwise. And if some dude wolfing hotdogs can be called an athlete why not dancers who competively dance? They seem to do way more physically then some guy trying to polish off the most cheese burgers in 5 minutes etc>

SVTSuzie's avatar

An athlete is someone who is training and works out for a game of which he makes money at. Someone obsessed with a particular sport.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Sailing is not physically demanding in some of the ways that football and basketball are—there’s no running, jumping, smashing into other bodies or throwing a ball involved—but when done right it has physical demands of its own that can be (should be) pretty strenuous. Those involve keeping the boat in good trim, so that it doesn’t heel too much (or the wrong way). That requires a crew that’s constantly ‘hiking out’ to windward (good abs and legwork required) and maintaining control of sheets (the ropes that control sail movement). It also requires a fine feel for the angle of attack to the wind, waves and current to maintain the best speed over the ground (that is, over the ground under the water). That ‘feel’ comes from long experience and time on the water. (I’m often amazed by what new sailors can’t feel when they get on the water, even after several experiences on the boat.)

Golf and bowling are often derided as pansy sports (or sports for drunks), but to be good at either of those requires another kind of athleticism: the ability to do well and do it consistently. That is, a bowler facing a spare pickup has to know exactly how his ball will move down the alley and precisely where he needs to strike one pin to knock down the other/s as well. Golfers have to know which club to use to place the ball ‘just so’, and if you ever watch the hours that good golfers spend on a driving range hitting a bucket of balls into a relatively small area time after time you’ll realize that there are very few “lucky shots” by good golfers.

Since all of the sports that I’ve mentioned so far involve good body control and consistency, maybe that’s a way to determine who are athletes. Even poker and chess might qualify, since a good poker player needs to learn how to control his ‘tells’ (the giveaway signs that he has a good or bad hand), and a chess player needs to stay relatively still and patient, yet concentrated on the game.

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