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Sport: a test of mind, body, and spirit

We all know that sport is a highly disciplined exercise of the human body. It seeks to develop a person’s physical faculties, such as strength, stamina, skill-alt working together towards a harmony of movement and action. Through sport we try to attain physical excellence, by means of necessary training and practice. Its aim is perfection in a given event, as well as the breaking of significant records, as has already happened during these competitions.

However, there is another dimension to sports activity. Sport is also an important moment for guaranteeing the balance and total well-being of the person. In an age that has witnessed the ever- increasing development of various forms of automation, especially in the workplace,
reducing the use of physical activity, many people feel the need to find appropriate forms of physical exercise that will help to restore a healthy balance of mind and body. And from here arises that special interest and attention to sporting events, which today attract great masses to athletic competitions of every kind.

This phenomenon exposes you athletes to considerable psychological pressures because people tend to extol you as heroes, as human models who in spire ideals of life and action, especially among youth. And this fact places you at the center of a particular social and ethical problem. You are observed by many people and expected to be outstanding figures not only during athletic competitions but also when you are off the sport field. You are asked to be examples of human virtue, apart from your accomplishments of physical strength and endurance. – from an address to Athletes of the Athletics World Championships in Rome (1987)