Other targets of serious critics are the regulations regarding writing for publication, broadcasting, appearing on television or in the movies, as well as teaching or coaching. The rules provide that a professional writter may write on sports but a nonprofessional may not. While in general amateurs may not teach sports, the American Olympic Committee allows unobtrusive coaching of beginners, provided the athlete-coach does not "exploit his fame."
Finally, the critics point to the ridiculous anomalies created by the conflicting rules of different international federations. An amateur track man, for example, loses his standing if he competes with a professional—the old absurdity of contamination by association. An amateur hockey player, however, may even play on a professional team for five games without endangering his status. A tennis player may accept $20-a-day expenses (exclusive of travel), but a golfer may not. However, the golfer may compete with a professional, but a tennis player may not.
Another target of the critics is the Olympic limitation on training camps which is openly flouted around the globe. A recent article published by the U.S. Army on its participation in preparation for the current Games says that Army candidates "undergo concentrated training for about 60 days," and the U.S. modern pentathlon team candidates have been training in Texas for the Games for two months. The rules, which specify a maximum of two weeks, are not enforceable, and there is justified criticism that they are making cheats and liars of many athletes who take the Olympic oath.
The able French sportswriter, Gaston Meyer, chief editor of L'Equipe, has summed up his objection: "Do not forbid what you can't prevent."
What solutions do Brundage's critics have to offer? A few, including such eminent ex-athletes as Field Marshals Alexander and Montgomery and Chris Chataway, now a Member of Parliament, propose to abolish all distinctions between amateurs and professionals, which they consider anachronisms in the modern world. After all, they contend, there was no distinction up to a hundred years ago, and, as Paul Gallico once wrote, 'Amateurs—there ain't none."
Most athletes and sports officials oppose so radical a solution. It would, they maintain, either discourage youth altogether from taking up sports or encourage those with talent to devote their entire lives to sports until they end up at 30 or 35 as jobless has-beens. Unless they simultaneously practice a trade or profession, champion athletes, according to these men, tend to become like the champions of the original Olympics whom Euripides described as "slaves of their bellies" or, as Philostratus put it, "sorry slobs and spineless people."
At the other extreme, some reformers would be satisfied if the IOC dropped team sports and winter sports from their programs. These two categories provide most of the blatant abuses of the present system. The IOC could avoid some of its worst problems by simply abolishing these sports. Such a proposal may be discussed at the summer meeting, and it is believed that Brundage and many of his colleagues favor the step.
However, critics point out that this solution is simply dodging the main issue and not solving the problem of defining amateurs in all other sports on the Olympic program.
Jean Borotra, France's indestructible champion, recently proposed a far more basic solution for the non-Olympic sport of tennis. There are those who believe that Borotra's idea can be adapted to other sports as well. He suggests a third category of "authorized players," falling between professional and amateur, who would be authorized to receive money in competitions. Each national federation would place a limited number of topflight players in the new category.
While this solution would remove the hypocrisy and cheating from the present solution, it is opposed by many on the grounds that it only makes the problem more complicated. It might, for example, simply increase the number of tennis bums. Others, notably in the United States, oppose it on the practical grounds that it will adversely affect the tax-exempt status of such athletic bodies as the Lawn Tennis Association. Finally, critics point out that the scheme would be most difficult to apply to sports where the number of participants is so large that it would mean "authorizing" hundreds of athletes.