Steve Cornelius and Paul Singh 1. INTRODUCTION Sport has become a major global industry in which billions of dollars are turned over annually. Major championships attract vast numbers of television viewers globally with the result that television networks are willing to part with astronomic amounts of money to secure the broadcasting rights for major sports events. Television attracts sponsors who invest even more money into events and star athletes. The result is that winning and success overshadow other values, such as physical and mental well-being, education and sportsmanship. Ironically, the sustainability of professional sport is in the hands of children. The future of sport as an industry is heavily dependent not only on the participation of children from a young age, but also on keeping the largest possible number of talented young athletes involved in sport, both as participants and as spectators. The children of today will be the stars and fans of tomorrow. Without stars or fans, professional sport will collapse. As professionalism swept across the sports world during the second half of the twentieth century, it was inevitable that children would also be swept up in the frenzy to achieve success and earn vast amounts of money. Coaches saw talented youngsters as mere commodities which could be cultivated to improve the coaches’ success ratings. Parents began to see their talented children as a means to generate an income which could sustain both parents and children. Parents and coaches placed more and more pressure on children to perform, with...
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