Is Ice Dancing a Sport?

Ice dance is personally my least favorite of the ice skating disciplines. I’d much rather watch the men do breathtaking triple axels or the pairs do a graceful in synch spin than try to discern exactly why the judges liked someone’s quick step better than another couple’s jive.

But I don’t see how this is any sillier than some of the other things we call sports. In soccer you can’t use your hands to touch the ball and who the hell doesn’t like to touch a ball? I’ve been watching baseball for decades and I probably still don’t know some of the rules. Curling? The “sport” for out of shape people. Luge? Is that Swedish for how to kill yourself? Ski jumping? Looks like nothing more than something someone once did on a dare when really, really drunk.

Is ice dancing any less a sport than dressage where I daresay even half the audience in the stands doesn’t know exactly what’s going on? Any less silly than beach volleyball or table tennis? Any less corrupt than cycling where Lance Armstrong has been defrocked because someone finally spilled the beans on his drug use? Any less well judged than sports where victory is measured in a nearly ungraspable thousandth of a second?

Any exertion of skill, whether competitive or not, which has at least one spectator, is a sport and as valuable as any other sport.

My “personal” definition of a sport requires two people or teams directly opposing each other. And no, I don’t care if I’m the only person why thinks that way.

Golf, for example, is a game, not a sport. Add somebody trying to block the ball from going into the hole somehow, then it becomes a sport.

Ice dancing is not a sport, although Tanya Harding almost made it one.

I’m completely with you. But I’d also add that there must not be subjective judging, as in ice-skating, diving and gymnastics. Also, the outcome mustn’t be influenced by differences in equipment, so that rules out horse trials and motor racing.

Difference is though, I don’t use these criteria to distinguish sport/non-sport, but sport I like/don’t like.

Wouldn’t that mean Chess is a sport?

Well, yes. Why not?

So you’ve ruled out most of track and field as sports. What’s the difference between having heats in sprint events, and having brackets in golf match play? And who’s blocking the finish line, or preventing the javelin or shot from landing in bounds?

If there needs to be a discussion about whether something is a sport or not, then it isn’t.

My personal preference are sports where the rules are easily grasped. I like to watch horse jumping. It may be the most elitist sport imaginable what with the requirement to have a horse just to compete but at least anyone knows that if the horse knocks over a fence that’s probably very, very, bad. I also admit I sort of like sports that either look almost impossible like pole vaulting or where you wonder how they don’t get killed like arials.

I realise you haven’t directed this at me, but I’d like to reply if I may.

Any trivial* competition that involves a winner and one or more losers is a sport.

Some sports however are more compelling - for me - to watch than others. In an attempt to work out why this is, I examined the properties of those sports I like to watch, and found they had some common attributes, viz direct competition, no subjective judging, if equipment involved the equipment itself must not unduly affect the outcome etc.

So yes, chess, ice dancing, golf, tiddlywinks, boxing, soccer, gymnastics, track & field events, F1, wrestling, bog snorkelling, cheese rolling, ferret wrangling, rowing, cycling and swimming are all sports, but some of these are more sporting than others.

(Admittedly, all this was fleshed out after several pints of rough cider in a Somerset pub.)

  • just to rule out war and gun fights

Let me move that to The Game Room for you.

That’s more-or-less my definition, but I limit it to those competitions that require physical exertion or some element of physical skill. I don’t care if there’s an element of subjectivity to the scoring (and it’s always seemed a bizarre complaint to me.) If you want to created that distinction, you can divide it up to “judged sports” and “non-judged sports.”

My personal definition is similar to what most people have already mentioned: it must be competitive, scoring should be objective for the most part (referees to interpret rules are fine), and no difference in equipment (rules out horse racing and all vehicle racing)

However, I’d like to add one more criteria for consideration: A sport must be athletically demanding. Therefore golf, which has a freaking Seniors Tour, would not be a sport. Old people can do it, and while athleticism helps, its not necessary.

Yes. In Revtimland, those are mere contests.

No. In Revtimland, that is simply a game, mostly because it is turn-based.

I am undecided about real-time multiplayer video games like Starcraft. They are closer to sports than ice dancing or track, certainly. But I might wish to have some minimum of physical activity in my personal sport definition. Have to think about that one some more.

The oldest player to win a golf major was 48. Sure, that’s older than top football (either type), baseball or rugby players, but indicates that a certain degree of athletic demandingness (?).

Professional golfers frequently suffer injuries because of the physical demands, e.g Tiger Woods - knee, back.

Old people play tennis. There are “champions” events for older players. Does that make what Nadal, Federer at al. play not a sport?

I’ve always found that th best, most consistent definition of sport is

  • a contest of athletic skill
  • played between two or more competitors
  • with clear criteria by which a winner is determined

By this definition ice dancing is a sport, provided it’s not totally fixed.

No. Compare the annual revenues of the NFL with those of curling.

By that logic, acting is a sport.

I pretty much agree with this. To me a sport is something that athletes play that is competitive. And again, to me, this rules out curling. Why curling is in the Olympics as a sport is totally beyond me. No offense to curlers out there but many of the curlers are not in any kind of athletic shape and there is no athleticism about sweeping a darn broom or sliding on the ice while holding and pushing a rock. Rant over.