|US Olympic Training Ctr in Chula Vista, CA.|
Take the recent badminton scandal where players from the Chinese, South Korean, and Indonesian teams got disqualified for trying to throw their matches in order to avoid having to play a better team in their next round. I don't know if I would call that 'cheating', but it definitely is unsportsmanlike. They were trying to beat the other teams by gaining unearned advantage in the drawing rather than trying to play their best in every game. It is 'the ends justify the means' rather than 'it isn't about winning or losing but how you play the game', sort of thing.
|No matter whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game that reflects who you really are.|
Having spent a bit of my developing years in different cultures, I'm afraid that question would produce different answers, too... Some cultures actually do think it a virtue to outfox others even if the outfoxing violates the spirit of fair play. 'The ends justifies the means (do whatever it takes to get the win, regardless of fairness)' or 'how you play the game matters more than what result you get'. For myself, I'd throw my lot in with the latter. Focusing on winning or losing makes one's happiness dependent on others' performance. Focusing on how one plays the game is a lot more self-contained. Natural ability is largely a matter of luck. Personal integrity, on the other hand, is an earned quality, and one that nobody else can ever take from you without your consent. Having both is ideal, but if I could only have one, I'd go for the latter every time.
PS: Since the Olympics vibes on the web seems dominated by the notion of Asian athletes' bending of the rule, I don't think those badminton players did any worse than what the Great Britain track cyclist did in intentionally crashing in order for his team to get to restart (and not have to suffer from being slow taking off the first time). Unethical is unethical regardless of nationality or skin color, and to have the temerity to go around talking about it as if he had done something clever... Ugh! Hindes and his likes could learn something about sportsmanship from Victoria Pendelton and Jess Varnish, GB's women's team sprinters who got relegated out of medal contention for a marginal and unintended rule violation. Everyone goofs every now and then, but it takes character to own up to it without excuses.