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July 17, 1996

Aspirations and Ideals in the Olympic Games

JAMA. 1996;276(3):247. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540030081037

Thirty years ago, although sports medicine certainly existed, it was still on the sidelines of medical activity. The leaders of the sports world, less than receptive to this kind of activity, happily affirmed that sports teams needed nothing more than a "team doctor." A costly figure who often got in the way, the team physician fought against the empiricism of coaches and ruined their credibility with his scientific theories, the value of which none of the sports leaders could understand. Sport was governed by the rules of a romantic amateurism that frowned on the professional strictness of a new generation of scientists. Sports medicine was regarded as a costly and pointless activity.

The extraordinary improvement in human performance reflected in a fabulous number of records, the increasing media focus on sports events, and the medical problems that have accompanied the sporting expansion of recent years have led sports leaders to