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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Individual dominance bad for sport?
Tiger Woods and Michael Schumacher
Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher, Lance Armstrong and Ian Thorpe are all streets ahead of the opposition in their respective sports.

Is their pre-eminence good or bad?


This debate is now closed.


The modern sporting era seems to be dominated by outstanding individuals who have taken their disciplines by storm.

Woods is widely regarded as golf's greatest ever player, Schumacher has taken his fifth Formula One title with ease, Armstrong is on course four his fourth successive Tour de France victory and Thorpe is a swimming phenomenon.

Many feel a sport dominated by one person can become boring, while others argue that individual brilliance inspires both spectators and participants.

Is individual dominance good or bad?


Surely the whole appeal of sport is the element of competitiveness. Take that away and what is left? Dominance by a single individual (especially one as arrogant as Schumacher) kills the appeal.
Stephen, Finland

No wonder the English can't win anything! As soon as an individual excels he/she is cut down by the English press. Well done Schuey and Thorpey!
James Laurent, Australia

Great champions help to make sports great, no question. Tennis without Laver, Borg, Sampras, King, Navratilova would have a much leaner history. The only issue is whether it's better to have rivalry, some genuine competition, rather than a walkover.

Generally speaking, seeing a champion being pushed in a genuine contest has to be more appealling. However, until there are more challengers we can hardly ask Tiger, the Williams sisters or the Aussie rugby league side to play a little bit worse to make the contest a bit more even.
Tim, UK


It's a very British thing to knock the best, and probably explains why we produce so few sporting greats
Ian, UK

I believe that it's good for a sport to have one or two teams or competitors that dominate - at least for a while. This will hopefully make other teams or players strive to achieve those heights. Look at Manchester United; they have dominated for so long and have lifted the level of football - at least in the Premier League.

The same goes for Formula One. Ferrari were nowhere a few years ago, and were lucky if their cars finished a race. Now they dominate, because they wanted to be the best and luckily had a driver who was the best.

Now it is up to Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and others along with their car manufacturers to try and challenge Schumacher, Barrichello and Ferrari.
Joachim Schuckmann, South Africa

I think it is more a case of who is doing the dominating. Without wishing to open an old wound, the reason people don't like Schumacher or Manchester United is because both a rather arrogant in their success, whereas people like Tiger Woods and Ian Thorpe tend to be far more diplomatic in acknowledging their success.
John, England


Domination breeds excellence
Jim, UK
If you're lucky you get two "greats" at the same time, and this is obviously perfect for sport. But we should still take delight in watching the very best breaking new ground. It's a very British thing to knock the best, and probably explains why we produce so few sporting greats.
Ian, UK

Sporting dominance is okay - there's nothing wrong in being the best in whatever sport you participate in. Those who think it's bad seem to forget that most things in our lives don't last forever.

Sports stars have their time to shine, and then burn away like a candle, often lasting imprints on their various sports. Besides, it gives those who are always coming second an incentive to try harder next time.
Arthur, UK

Domination breeds excellence. Last year's Premiership was the closest in years, because the other teams have had to raise their game to match Man Utd. Pete Sampras' domination of tennis has now bred the likes of Lleyton Hewitt, one of the most exciting prospects around.


These people are raising the bar, bringing new levels of excellence to their sport and showing what is achievable
Chris B, England

The Williams sisters dominate now, but they will fall to others who play with more cunning than power. Domination is essential for the level of sport to progress.
Jim, UK

Why is dominance bad? This is such a typically English reaction as we always seem to want the underdog to conquer. Schumacher is head and shoulders above other drivers and so is his team. The other teams need to improve, and their drivers need to keep pushing themselves and their team.

People forget that Ferrari didn't win a drivers' title between 1980 and 1999! Why not just applaud history being made and look forward to the rest of the F1 season, which still has plenty to offer?
Tim Allen, England

It's a good thing. These people are raising the bar, bringing new levels of excellence to their sport and showing what is achievable. It's up to the rest to raise their game and catch up. Petulant wails of "We don't want HIM to play because he's too good" remind me of a junior school playground.
Chris B, England


They set the standards everyone else should be looking to achieve or surpass
Craig Miller, UK

Yes, domination by one man can make the sport boring, but in F1 the fact that the best man is in the best car is what irritates people. Equal equipment to judge everyone does not seem to be there.

People judge just by performances which is very naive. Schumacher is not the greatest F1 driver, but lots of people do think so.
Shiv Ariyakula, Indian in USA

Dominance is bad for any sport. Sport mainly relies on corporate sponsorship for its financing. If one person dominates people don't watch. If people don't watch they don't see the advertising, therefore withdrawing their sponsorship.
Dan W, UK

It's up to the others in all the sports listed to look at these individuals and try to raise their game to compete with them. They set the standards everyone else should be looking to achieve or surpass.
Craig Miller, UK

Not just good, but great! If anyone of us had the chance to achieve what we enjoy, I'm sure we wouldn't mind carrying on achieving it. In my opinion, if anyone thinks sport is becoming boring because of one person dominating it, then it is most likely that they are jealous because they can't have the same opportunity to be dominant at something they enjoy.
Okin, NZ


Celtic and Rangers make Scottish footy look like school boys' football
Jamie Pell, England

It isn't their fault that they are winning everything - it is up to the rest to catch them and challenge them. Why should someone be penalised because they are so good - everybody should stop jumping on the bandwagon and leave them alone.
Dave McNamara, UK

Individual dominance is very bad for sport I believe, but it isn't just individuals. Scottish teams like Celtic and Rangers have dominated football in their country for years and this makes Scottish footy look like school boys' football, picking the best players first and leaving the lass skilled to other teams.

It makes sport boring, you know straight away who is going to win the competition. It makes the games seem less competitive as well, because competitors just don't think themselves they can beat, for example, Tiger Woods.
Jamie Pell, The Boro, England

No I don't think so, Manchester United dominated for four or five seasons in England and football has never been so popular. Yes, it is nice to see others win but the superstars who dominate make the sports more accessible and more popular.

For example, Michael Jordan, Pele, George Best, Pete Sampras and Tiger Woods have all made their sports their own but their success is envied by kids and they will try to replicate their skills. Surely this will only encourage them to push harder to become professional sports men and women, and therefore the future of sport is extremely bright.
Joel Priest, UK

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