Sportsmanship is traditional value in sports and competition. It means playing clean and handling both victory and defeat with grace, style, and dignity.[1]

Sportsmanship is generally understood to include

  • playing fair[1]
  • following the rules of the game[1]
  • respecting the judgment of referees and officials[1]
  • treating opponents with respect[1]

The ideal of sportsmanship argues that "it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, but how you play the game".[2]

Sportsmanship can be different depending on the game itself or the culture of the group. For example, in the sport of cricket, a player will sometimes acknowledge that he is out by walking off the field, even though the umpires (game officials) had thought that he was not out. In another example, a tennis player who sees a ball go in but is called out by the linesperson could concede the point or suggest the opponent make a challenge, as was the case with professional tennis player Jack Sock on at least two occasions.[3]

Olympic Games

In the context of the Olympic Games, athletes are expected to do their best.[4] Otherwise, they would go against the Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger".[5]

Select examples of good sportsmanship

Select examples of bad sportsmanship

In the London Olympics, some athletes attempted to lose their badminton matches,[9] including

Sportsmanship Media

Related pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4, "Sportsmanship"; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  2. Kendrick, Carleton, "Teaching Good Sportsmanship,"; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  3. "Concepts of Sportsmanship Vary Across Cultures". Big Think. 2015-06-17. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Oktavinanda, Pramudya A. "The Olympic Scandal: Sportsmanship Issue or Poor Strategy?" Jakarta Globe (Indonesia). August 3, 2012; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  5. Zhu Yuan. "Sportsmanship more important," China Daily (PRC). 3 August 2012; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  6. (SR/Olympics), "Eugenio Moni" Archived 2020-04-17 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  7. "Lemieux's sportsmanship still recognized," Archived 2011-06-28 at the Wayback Machine Edmonton Journal (Canada). March 13, 2008; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  8. Fencing's Shin Lam offered 'consolation prize' following display of sportsmanship," Independent (UK). 31 July 2012; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  9. Cole, Cam. "Expelled Olympic badminton players win gold for lack of subtlety," National Post (Canada). August 1, 2012; retrieved 2012-8-3.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Leicester, John. "Sportsmanship smashed just like a shuttlecock," Peoria Journal Star (US). August 1, 2012; excerpt, "Between the Olympic ideal and the Olympic reality is a trap that eight badminton players fell into at London 2012. They didn’t cheat. Instead, they tried to win — by deliberately trying to lose"; retrieved 2012-8-3.