Cheating and gaming the system in ancient athletics / Susan Stephens

Stephens, Susan

The contradictions and ambiguities in, admiration for, and potential benefits derived from cheating in modern athletics have numerous parallels in ancient Greek culture. Because both ancient and modern competitive sports share common structures and behavioral patterns that enable cheating, viewing attitudes of the ancients provides a useful lens through which to assess our own ambivalent responses to rule-breaking today. This paper traces the growth of ancient sports and the financial and personal rewards that motivated many athletes to game the system. Numerous examples of athletes and the parents of athletes who sought success at all costs indicate that ancient sports cheating was not so distant from cheating in modern sports.

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