Henning A & Krieger J (2020) Dropping the Amateur: The International Association of Athletics Federations and the Turn Toward Professionalism. Sport History Review, 51 (1), p. 64–83. https://doi.org/10.1123/shr.2019-0024
When the International Association of Amateur Athletics (IAAF) changed its name to International Association of Athletics Federations in 2001, it was more than an acknowledgment of the organization's acceptance of professional athletes. Rather, this change symbolized a shift in thinking about the nature of athletics, what athletics competitions represented, and the commercialization of the sport that had been decades in the making. This article will consider the IAAF's pursuit to maintain control over global athletics through its transition from an amateur sport federation to a professional sport governing body. Drawing on official documents and personal archives of IAAF officials, we trace the internal views and debates beginning with the IAAF's fight to maintain amateurism against collective pushback over issues of athlete pay, to the full acceptance of professionalism. Our main focus lies on the transition period in the 1980s and 1990s. We show how dropping the amateur from the name reflected not only the new embrace of professional athletes, but also the organizational turn away from amateur athletics. We will identify the processes that finally forced the breakdown of amateurism and ushered in a new era of professional athletics.
amateurism; commercialization; professional sport; sport policy
Sport History Review: Volume 51, Issue 1