Link to the Hompage of Father Alois Koch SJ

Alois Koch SJ
Sport - A Secular Religion?{0}

From: Stimmen der Zeit, 2002/2, p. 90-102
webmaster's own, not authorized translation

German Version

In the Olympia year 1932 the magazine "The Cross-Section" published in Berlin a booklet with the topic "Sense and Nonsense of Sport" {1}. Across the first page runs the banner headline "World Religion of the Twentieth Century". The fictitious retrospect from a distance of ten thousand years begins with the statement: Not Christianity has been the controlling religious system of the European-American culture area but a new "world religion" with the name "sport". In the twentieth century this new religious movement has almost completely ousted the old Christian religion. The symbol of the cross has been replaced by the ball, whose spherical shape - as "symbol of the finite encompassed by the infinite" - is regarded as the highest form of religiousness. The spherical shape of the ball as principal cult article, showed the 'this world' character of the "sport religion". One refers to class-specific kinds of sport (called "sects"), from the lower classes over the middle class up to the upper class, and likewise to the ardour of the sporting rites. Finally is mentioned the stupefying popularity of some "priests and Priest Orders of the sport religion" around which often hundreds of thousands "faithful" crowd.

Wolfgang Rothe calls this fictitious historical retrospect "joke à la mode", but the characterisation of sport as "world religion of the twentieth century" seems to be quite applicable. For obviously in today's sport phenomena come to light that show characteristics typical for religions. Does perhaps a "secular religion"{2} hide behind modern sport? Does not just the maxim of Olympic Movement "citius, altius, fortius - faster, higher, stronger" let assume that in modern sport "self-transcendence" is at stake?

"Religion" can be characterized as a "system that explains the world and helps to get the better of life". It is distinguished by its alignment to an in whatever manner disposed "unavailable reality", to which people know themselves related. Of course, as such a "system" religion is autonomous in relation to the environment, but it is in a constant process of interaction with it. It is carried by people and wins its shape by their "faith", their behaviour and their socialization. A characteristic of all "religions" is the "mastering of contingency" - contingency understood as finiteness and insufficiency in the human life, to which belong illness, misery and death, but also guilt and failure. The "religions" open ways for man to deal meaningfully with the conditions of contingency,



and to integrate the negative moments into the own life draft. True, with this understanding of "religion" as a "system" with which human beings can handle the central questions of life, also those deliberately secular world views and ideologies can be taken as "religion" which permit no transcendental perspective (e.g. to "God") and reject traditional religions, but nevertheless have as subject "the whole" of world, humankind and history, and can so exercise the function of a religion for their followers.

In view of an advancing secularization it is for many people no longer about a transcendental "salvation aim". In the concept of the "civil religion", respectively "secular religion" is enclosed - so Gottfried Küenzlen - the hope aim of the "New Man" - and that in quite different shapes. It is about the arising "New Man", who "has already here on earth the kingdom of heaven" (Heinrich Heine). Human beings are then logically understood as creators and directors of their own "salvation":

In its empirical realization the 'New Man' can now be produced, planned and - according to the imagination of some movements - also be bred biologically."{3}

As for the concept "sport", a more external consideration leads us to differentiate the recovery and leisure sport from the area of the contest-operated sport. The distinctive characteristic is not the subjective "performance" accomplished in the sporting exercises. At the bottom of the two areas are rather two different "principles": the "recreational" and the "sporting principle".

The "recreational principle" means the range of non-utility, of free play. It is realized in the freedom of the performance dictate. It is defined by the always temporally activities. It tries to win joy and pleasure. It pays homage to the unnecessary. It gives way to spontaneous, creative ideas. It is free of rules and ways of exercises forced upon it. It tends to recovery and balance, and gives so back the human freedom of onerous existence conditions. That all that applies not only to wide ranges of the traditional and institutionalized sport movement, but includes various other forms of "physical exercises" in which thinking and feeling of the modern 'affluent society' are expressed. Mentioned be the "ski tourism", that has hardly to do something with "ski sport".

A different principle, namely the "sporting" one, is the basis of the contest sport (mass sport and high-performance sport). It means the performance orientated towards records.



It is realized in the performance comparison of the contest. It is determined by the expenditure of time, and also of money for a performance-oriented, specialized training. It tries to increase, by way of rationalization measures of multiple kinds, the effectiveness of the spent training time. It invents always new methods to economize technical talents or tactical behaviours. It insists on automating the order of motions and differs from the work principle only in regard to the larger possibilities of free decisions.{4}

In the following several phenomena or characteristics are to be pointed out that may suggest the conclusion that we possibly or even obviously have to do with a "secular religion" in today's sport movement. That is to be clarified by some examples: First by the borrowed "quasi-religious elements" in modern sport; secondly by the positive statement to be a "religion"; thirdly by the effort to be a "sense conveying action system"; fourthly by phenomena with the element of "ecstasy", typical for religions and fifthly by the trend to egocentric, "solipsistic occupation" or "obsession" just in high-performance sport.


The Borrowed "Quasi-religious Elements" in Modern Sport

In order to prove modern sport as "secular religion", it is wrong to refer to the 'agonistic' of the Greek antiquity, and its being at home in the cult of the gods, which manifested itself, as you know, above all in the large Pan-Hellenic Games of Olympia, Delphi, Nemea and Corinth. The modern sport, and also the "quasi-religious elements" in modern sport have other roots, even if one appeals time and again to the Greek antiquity.

It is obvious how at the opening celebrations of Olympiads or world championships quasi-religious liturgies are celebrated - not least enacted accurately by the media for their audience. With this "transfer of the sacral" one intends the "sublimation of sport" by ceremonies. In "liturgies", as you know, one gets blessings. One is admitted into a cult community, the community of the "knowing", the "gnostics". One gets security and safety in a group of like-minded. These "liturgies" are celebrated by a "priest class", by a "nomenclatura" that enjoys privileges and decides who is worthy to participate in these "liturgies", and to be admitted into the circle of the privileged.

But "quasi-religious liturgies" are not only at the "high level". Also at other levels of sport one celebrates such "rituals".



"Everything is ritualized, situations are dealt with, the 'knowing' are informed about the state of events: of the run-in of the crews in association colours, the exchange of pennants, the national anthem before the beginning of the play and after the Olympic championship."{5}

Of course, one should not overestimate expressions of club fans like: "My religion is 'Club XY'", or the title "Schalke Our" in a fan magazine, but regard them as curiosities. Nevertheless they indicate sense deficits just with young people.


The Positive Claim of Olympic Movement to Be a "Religion"

There are statements from the area of modern Olympic movement that seem far weightier and that read positively: Olympic movement is a religion. This claim is laid particularly by the founder of the Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin, but also by the IOC President of many years standing, Avery Brundage; not least by Carl Diem, who - particularly by the organization and arrangement of the Berlin Olympiad 1936 - exerted coining influence in the sense of religion and cult.

For Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Olympiads of modern times, who felt destined to preach the "sporting gospel"{6}, the sport is "a religion with church, dogma, cult ... but especially with a religious feeling". Olympiads have a "sacral character" for him, and give ritual super-eminence to sport.

"The first and substantial element of the old as well as of the new Olympic movement is: to be a religion ... Hence I believe I was right when I tried from the beginning to awaken religious feelings by the renewal of Olympic movement ... The sport-religious thought, the 'religio athletae', entered only slowly into the awareness of the sportswomen ... But little by little it will be taken quite seriously by them."{7}

And another passage says, "Like the old athletics, so the modern athletics too is a religion, a cult."{8} For Coubertin the athlete is "a kind of priest and the servant of the religion of muscle power"{9}; the sporting youths of all nations are to become "again disciples of the sporting religion"{10}. Obviously "the coronation of the Olympic idea by the Olympic religion was necessary for Coubertin, because without religion the dynamics, the enthusiasm and the absolute would be missing from the Olympic idea"{11}. He recommended to a secularized world the "continuation of the divine service at the again lighted up Olympic fire"{12}. Characteristic for Coubertin's view is also his "Ode to the Sport", in which the "religion of muscle power"{13}, hence a biological ideology of Darwinist coinage, is expressed.

From Coubertin's statements one could draw the conclusion that he had taken over from the antique "Olympic religion" certain "rituals" and the "religious feeling",




but he did not say yes to the gods, and thus also not to such a thing as "transcendency". At the place of the gods he set, at least in some statements, the nation as surrogate of divinity; the victorious Olympian fighters of the present raise their native country, their race and flag{14}.

"How much Coubertin was aware of the pseudo religiosity of Olympic movement can be seen from the fact that he talks at another place of 'true paganism' and the 'cult of man'." {15}

Avery Brundage, who became in 1952 IOC President, is without doubt on Coubertin's line. He used the term 'religion' in connection with sport and the Olympic movement in a similar sense as Coubertin. His most well-known statements from 1964 run under the headline "Olympian Movement - Religion of the Twentieth Century" through the media.


"The Olympian movement is a religion of the 20th century, a religion with universal claim, which integrates all basic values of other religions. A modern, dynamic religion, attractive for the youth, and we of the International Olympic Committee are its disciples. Here is no longer any injustice of caste, race, family and money. One may search in the whole history and will find no system of principles that spread so far and so fast as Coubertin's brilliant philosophy. He ignited the torch that will illuminate the world." {16}

Beside Coubertin and Avery Brundage is - at least from the German view - to be mentioned Carl Diem. After Coubertin he contributed probably most to the matter which we call "rituals" and "ritual actions" with Olympiads. Diem sees himself as "Knight of the Grail" guarding Coubertin's ideas, yes, as Coubertin's "son", who on the occasion of a visit in the run-up of the Berlin Olympiad in 1936 "wanted like a son to get the father's blessing" {17}. In 1944, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the IOC, he will write:

"Nowhere the perfect gift of our ingenious reviver is reflected more strongly than in the designing of the Olympic ceremonies, in the mental and artistic shaping of this thought, in the creation of genuine Olympic symbols which - I believe I can say this - lifted the entire sport upon a higher level."{18}

From here it becomes understandable that Diem, just with his "creation" of the Berlin Olympiad 1936 in Coubertin's sense, wanted to renew the mental substance of the Olympic movement. In his "message" at the end of the Berlin Olympiad Coubertin writes:

"Now Berlin has given it (i.e. Olympic movement) for all times the solemnity by daring, and with fullest success crowned enterprises, as there are: the torch-run with the Olympic fire, and the meeting at the first evening of the Games; both were engineered by my ingenious and enthusiastic friend Carl Diem."{19}

Already by the preceding Olympiads the Olympic fires had been lighted



in the different contest places. For Berlin however Diem had the idea to arrange the lighting of the fire as a solemn quasi-religious act:

"The flame of the XIth Olympiad ... 'was born' in the holy grove of the antique Olympia ... The sun of Greece, collected in the focus of a concave mirror of the German company Carl Zeiss, inflamed the torch in the hand of a 'priestess'." {20}

The idea of the Olympic torch run from Olympia to Berlin, in connection with that ceremony, is attributed time and again to Carl Diem. But the suggestion came obviously from the Propaganda Ministry in Berlin - a fact that is generally ignored by the Olympic movement. At any rate, Diem was anxious to get "higher solemnity" for the Olympic ceremony by the prestige of the antiquity. In the retrospect Diem writes that he had seen himself even tempted, that the torch was carried into the stadium by a "light god" with "divine buoyancy" {21}.

Even if Diem expressed himself later more reservedly, some of his remarks concerning an "Olympic religion" are nevertheless unmasking.

"Over the modern event of the "Olympiad lies the magic circle of the historical-old and the divine-pious ... The things that open the celebration: Bell sound - fanfares - festive procession - choir singing - speech - oath - flags - pigeons - light symbol, all this means solemnity, equal-ranking to a church celebration without copying it, and a deep emotion is everywhere, quite comparable to a religious celebration hour" {22}.

It does no longer matter to honour Zeus, but everything stands under the pious belief to fulfil - in the secret sense of the festive play - a divine will, to stand with this sense of the play within the sense of the world: To be man, to be entirely man. With Olympia it is about a festivity, "with which people celebrate their being man, i.e. that more of life that is not exhausted in mastering the existence, but wants to share in the celestial, spiritual, eternal progress that makes us people to human beings" {23}.

Therefore it can also not surprise when - for Diem - the Olympiad represents the 'day of faith' in the holy springtime of the peoples: "This new world demanded a new man that had to be shaped by a new education." {24} Diem wrote this sentence in summer 1944. A few months later, in March 1945, he will step before sixteen-year-old youths on the Reichssportfeld (stadium) in Berlin, to call on them by a "glowing speech - in which was so much of Sparta and self-sacrificing devotion - to the victorious final fight against Germany's enemies"(25); Diem had obviously identified himself with the criminal order of the Leader, and had used a disfigured Olympic movement to motivate those doomed men.



Sport - a Sense Conveying Action System?

In Coubertin's and his epigones' Olympic movement we meet the attempt to offer modern people a system of actions conveying sense. But this intention can be seen also in sport generally, the more so since the traditional religions - in particular Christianity - have seemingly lost more and more their moulding influence. Thereby is, on the part of sport, referred to the many positive values which got a high rank in today's time. Inversely to sport are transferred tasks that actually belong into the field of other institutions: "It is to serve public health, moral and discipline, education and character formation, the social behaviour, national pride and commerce" {26}. By that are attributed to sport effects which overcharge it. Therewith it becomes also susceptible to ideology, and can be used for all possible tasks and by any interested party.

Apart from these rationally comprehensible fields into which today's sport is pressed, other motivations shove themselves into the foreground. Running for example does not only serve health and well-being. Beyond that it serves "meditation training, mental perfection or religious illumination" {27}. The relevant impulses come usually from religious, but non-Christian sources. Above all eastern meditation techniques have to be named here. Many are looking for the desired "illumination" by running. Yes, one can see in the "expanding run culture" (manifesting itself in the many marathon races and in the jogging scene) a "reaction against a general social trend to 'Entkörperlichung' (disregard of the body)"; the body is, at is were, rediscovered. Thus it does not surprise, when "in the run event, but probably already in its physical and mental preparation and emotional long interpretation, the construction of sense, faith, and orientation systems" is seen{28}.


Elements of "Ecstasy" in Modern Sport

Today one hardly talks of religious elements in modern sport, although there is a set of phenomena which prove that the modern sport could "become still more comprehensively a 'pseudo-religious mass movement' as it is already the case today" {29}. This assumption resp. impression is substantiated by the phenomenon "ecstasy" in the modern sport - "ecstasy" understood as the ego's stepping out of its borders with a strong participation of the emotions.

Remarkable, yes astonishing is the proximity to a certain type



of pagan services in the antique world: the services of the mystery cults. These "services" aimed at impressing and overwhelming. The "faithful", the members of the "cult community" experience the "epiphany of the divine" by the extension of the senses, by the change of their consciousness by intoxication. Often it is introduced by fasting, night watches, and dance for hours up to trance, by poisons and stimulants, by physical injuries and pain, generally by feelings of delight. All these "procedures" are carefully religiously "administered", in order to bring about this "ecstasy", to cause the "epiphany of the divine". "Ecstasy" is meant here completely literally: as stepping out of the profane and as gliding into the comprehensive numinous, divine being. It is a matter of trained motor-minded and toxic "ecstasies". The loss of the external reality and the loss of self-control are the general characteristics of such a "being beside oneself", that usually takes place only in the guarding context of a cult group, for instance in the Dionysos cult.

If one looks in modern sport for the mentioned phenomena of "ecstasy", one cannot pass the so-called "adventure sport". These "adventure sports" are today extremely liked, and are, as it were, the "dernier cri". What does constitute the attractiveness of these kinds of sport: Canoeing, rafting, paragliding, ski runs with gradients of 60% and more? It is the so-called "kick", the thrill, which one wants to experience by 'border experiences' of deadly perils that are not only accepted but even desired. "Terms as 'search for the ultimate kick', 'thrill' and 'risk experience' advance to key words of the event boom in sport." {30}

"With the 'kick' that one wants to experience and that is important, a new currency of satisfying sport- and self-experience wins, so to speak, recognition" {31}

Thereby, so one argues, it is about plumbing everything that is humanly possible - as a means to self-identification. As negative "examples" the canoeing accidents or the tragedies on Mount Everest may be mentioned. The highest mountain of the world and also the other eight thousand meter high mountains have almost become a tourist attraction; they are mounted no longer only by real top climbers and specialists. Today such "border events" are in demand; they are commercially offered; one can "buy" them on the event market.

Not only by the example of extreme mountaineering the euphoric "exceeding-oneself" can be proved. Such "flow experiences" are described as "absence of fear and stress also by extreme danger; one is oblivious of all around one, the Ego disappears, one experiences a union without distance and merges with the surrounding environment - ecstatic experiences of an 'oceanic' security in nature, which seem even religious". This experience had a "large similarity to meditative experiences of crossing the frontiers of one's own being"; yes, one believes that one can see by those extreme mountain climbers a "kind of obsession



for transcendence experiences in the mountains". Thereby the danger is not to be underestimated, "that any form of falling into a trance-transcendence of the everyday consciousness can assume the features of addiction" {32}. The "kick" looked for by the protagonists of this kind of extreme sports, is obviously the enhancement of the individual "fun motive"; it reminds of experiences of drug consume, and "appears as the last stage of self-delight, respectively of anti-social self-realization" {33}.

In the world annually twenty internationally well-known marathon races take place, which attract up to 25.000 participants each. What constitutes the attractiveness of these runs? For most people it is certainly not the prize money; and it is for certain also not the aspect of health; then it would be better and less strenuous to care otherwise for one's health. It is medically proved that by strain, and a marathon race is strain, after approximately twenty five kilometres a pain threshold is reached, which is met by the body by production of body-own endorphins, i.e. of body-own morphin. The runners become "high". The medical profession speaks of a real "craving", and of "becoming addicted": the runners just intend to "become high". Those who constantly run longer distances, become addicted, and experience by going off the "drug running" actual withdrawal symptoms. One may ask the question, what differentiates this "becoming high" by body-own endorphins from an ecstasy-intoxication.

Here we do not deal with the various inciting drugs (like ephedrine or amphetamine), also not with the use of anabolic steroids (which have an aggression intensifying effect), of marijuana and cocaine, which are obviously popular in ball sports. Only in passing be referred to the public at big sporting meetings. Here it is not only about the "identification" with the sporting heroes. The "getting beside oneself", the merging in the mass of like-minded, and the merging in the moment are obvious: sport is indeed the "arena of the now". Here too "poisons" intensify the merging in the moment: drugs, alcohol etc. The modern sport proves obviously as the new "opiate for the people".


The Trend to the Total

The "trend to the total" in modern sport, to the "occupation" of those who do sport becomes apparent first in the fact that above all physical fitness and health moved into the centre of interest.

"Health, physical fitness and soundness are the socially accepted attributes (capable of securing a majority) of the dynamic, juvenile, successful man who remained and will remain young ... Health got a central value in our performance-oriented society." {34}



A physician formulates it still more drastic: "Health is the highest good of a society which is looking for its welfare chiefly in this life." {35} Going in for sports becomes a ritual health activity, by which one is convinced that it will automatically lead to health. The post-modern people want seemingly to outfox their limitedness and finiteness by a cult of health and fitness - this too is a symptom for the "secularization of the paradise", and its transfer into the earthly existence.

All the more the "trend to the total" appears in today's top-performance sport. The top-class sportswoman subordinates her/his whole conduct of life to the aim 'sporting performance', in a way hardly imaginable for the sporting laywoman. Training and sporting contest become an action maxim of first order. By this fixation on only one perspective and by this total orientation towards a presentable performance or success, and by the necessary readiness for a total psycho-physical engagement it is not only about the enormous temporal expense, but also about the affective-emotional reference to the sporting performance. "Those who are so engaged have often hardly any strength to be impressively active elsewhere and otherwise"; the top-performance sportswoman is "to a large extent a human being occupied by sport" {36}. Hence s/he is "possessed" by her/his sport. These facts are called "attention focusing on sport"{37} and "'Totalisierung' (make absolute) the sportswoman role"{38}. Needs and interests, school and occupation, spare time and vacation, nutrition and recovery, friendship, sexuality and privacy, world view and social-cultural commitment are subordinated to the necessities of sport - with the inevitable consequence that people are completely absorbed by sport, and are allowed no further activities. "The less time remains for other things the more important become sporting activities as sense causing centre of one's own identity" {39}.

It might be clear that in view of such a priority setting and such a "value scale" everything is subordinated to the sporting success, e.g. also the negative subsequent effects concerning the physical health. Health damage is almost constituent for high-performance sport. The top-performance sportswoman does not only move in biological, but in pathogen frontier.

"In most sporting disciplines top-performances can be achieved only after heaviest training labour over months and years, in certain cases one feels automatically reminded of the material abrasion tests in the industry." {40}

The final product is, as you know, scrap material. "Top-performance sport exceeds - negligently or consciously - the limits of a usable or justifiable state of health." {41} In view of the priorities valid in top-performance sport the much-praised sporting fairness fails all the more.



"Fair play appears as 'success prevention mechanism' against this background" {42}. Then for instance doping (in its various variants) is justified. Hence doping is a problem essentially caused by the system code 'top-performance sport'. It is clear that the commercialization of the "commodity sport" will still strengthen these negative sides. Under the laws of the market the solution of the doping problem moves into an unattainable distance - unless the doping means are generally allowed.

With this a further moment is connected, which is typical for any ideology. It is the excluding, respectively the fading out of any fundamental criticism or questioning of the "system sport". System foreign discussion participants are often simply ignored. That means: the "sympathizers" or "fundamentalists" are among themselves. All of them pretend to live naturally "for" the sport. But there are mostly people concerned who live "on" the sport; who have therefore an elementary and material interest in sport. However that may be, from "lobbyists" one can expect only an endorsement, if necessary a "partial" criticism. Above all the functionaries are keen on the keeping of their privileges. The athletes are thereby the "useful idiots", who are kept in good mood by appropriate bonuses.


The Religious Garments of Sport

Does today's sport represent a "secular religion"? The religious "garments", the religious "symbols" and "rituals", as they are not only used by Olympiads, may not mislead about the fact that the modern sport is not a "religion" in the actual sense. These "symbols" and "rituals" are only "borrowed". The Olympiads are no longer organized in honour of gods. "Religion" is rather used as instrument. The religious feelings and energies of man are directed to a different object. "In Olympia man celebrates itself. A religion without God leads to the divinisation of human beings and of their performance." {43} This "idolization" of man respectively the "attempt to mythologize the sport"{44} found its classical expression in Coubertin's "Ode to the Sport". It is about the "cult of man".

Also beyond the range of the Olympiads one cannot discover in today's sport (both in the "adventure sports" and in the sport done as contest in mass and top-performance sports) "expressions" of transcendence: not even in the sense of a "cultural transcendence", let alone in the sense of an actually "religious transcendence". "The sport belongs to the secular everyday ways of life. ... It represents them in an almost exemplary way. ... Experiences of wholeness are not to be won by sport." {45}



In today's sport it is about the "cult of man"; about the "New Man" who is to develop by sporting activity. This becomes more than obvious in the absence or in the fading out of the things that belong to the nature of religions: the fading out of the aspect "accomplishment of contingency" - contingency understood as finiteness and insufficiency of the human life, to which, of course, belong illness, wrong and death, guilt and failure. The absence of just this aspect proves therefore the "sport religion" as deficit. Yes, it is even impossible to "complete" the "sport religion". Occasionally one gets the impression that in the sporting activity is expressed the effort of people to get the better of finiteness; as it were, to be able to "run away" from illness, wrong and death. But you can neither ignore nor run away from human contingency. Nevertheless today's sport takes incontestably advantage of a tendency in modern society: those vague desires and longings of human beings for a sense in life, for identification with "heroes", yes, for "light figures" with quasi-salvation functions. "A part of the partly disappointed, partly unsatisfied religious need has diffused into sport" {37}.

The modern sport movement is a "partial ideology". As "partial" it is in danger or temptation to follow "large ideologies", yes, even to sell itself to them - as the past has sufficiently shown. Yes, the modern sport movement is a kind "totalitarian system", because it reduces the "total reality" to certain aspects: a "part" of reality is announced as "whole" (= totum). The "salvation promises" of sport that are based on it, are deceitful and insufficient. Mere tension maximization and desire satisfaction in sporting activity as well as the tasting to the full of body-referred intense experiences, the "just for fun": all that only addresses the senses but is still no "sense address". "We do not find the sense of life in sport only. Those who still believe it will ultimately find emptiness there" (47).



(0) The contribution represents the revised version of a paper: A. Koch: Der moderne Sport - eine säkularisierte Religion? In: W. Schwank (inter alia Ed.): Begegnung. Schriftenreihe zur Geschichte der Beziehung von Christentum und Sport, vol. 2. Aachen 2000, p. 35-50.

(1) W. Rothe, Sport u. Literatur in den Zwanzigerjahren, in: Stadion 7 (1981) 131-151.

(2) See my detailed explanation: Der moderne Sport - eine säkularisierte Religion?, in: Begegnung. Schriftenreihe zur Geschichte der Beziehung von Christentum u. Sport. Volume 2, edited by W. Schwank and others (Aachen 2000) 35-50.

(3) G. Küenzlen: Der Neue Mensch. Zur säkularen Religionsgeschichte der Moderne (München 1994) 20.

(4) About the concept "Sport" see J. Dieckert: Probleme des Sports und der Leibeserziehung (Frankfurt 1970) 126 et sequ.

(5) K. Weis: Sport und Religion, in: Soziologie des Sports, edited by J. Winkler and others (Opladen 1995) 129.

(6) P. de Coubertin, Der Olympische Gedanke (Schorndorf 1967) 52.

(7) The same, Olympische Erinnerungen (Frankfurt 1959) 217 et sequ.



(8) The same, Gedanke (note 6) 137.

(9) The same, Erinnerungen (note 7) 222.

(10) ibid. 207.

(11) J. Moltmann, Olympia zwischen Politik und Religion, in: Concilium 25 (1989) 432-437, 433.

(12) Coubertin, Gedanke (note 6) 133.

(13) ibid. 47 et sequ.

(14) See H. Bernett, Symbolik und Zeremoniell der XI. Olympischen Spiele in Berlin 1936, in: Sportwissenschaft 16 (1986) 364.

(15) B. Wirkus, "Werden wie die Griechen" - Implikationen, Intentionen und Widersprüche im Olympismus Pierre de Coubertins, in: Stadion 16 (1990) 119.

(16) Quoted from M. Hörrmann, Religion der Athleten (Stuttgart 1968) 22.

(17) C. Diem, Ein Leben für den Sport (Ratingen 1974) 163.

(18) The same, Gedanken zur Sportgeschichte (Schorndorf 1965) 20.

(19) Coubertin, Gedanke (note 6) 156.

(20) Bernett (note 14) 370.

(21) C. Diem, Ausgewählte Schriften. volume 1 (St. Augustin 1982) 196.

(22) The same, Ewiges Olympia (Minden 1948) 10.

(23) The same, Spätlese am Rhein (Frankfurt 1957) 68.

(24) The same, (note 8) 8.

(25) Bernett (note 14) 394.

(26) Weis (note 5) 132.

(27) ibid. 142.

(28) ibid. 148.

(29) H. Digel, Über den Wandel der Werte in Gesellschaft, Freizeit und Sport, in: DSB (ed.): Die Zukunft des Sports, edited by DSB (Schorndorf 1986) 41.

(30) H. Allmer, "Erlebnissport - Erlebnis Sport" - mehr als Wortspielerei, in: Brennpunkte der Sportwissenschaft 9 (1995) No. 1 and 2, 3.

(31) V. Rittner: Sport in der Erlebnisgesellschaft. In: Brennpunkte der Sportwissenschaft 9 (1995), No. 1 and 2, p. 29.

(32) W. Schleske, Grenzerfahrungen in den Erlebnissportarten, in: Sport an der Wende, edited by S. Riedl and others (Wien 1991) 88 f.

(33) J. Thiele, "Werde ich zum Augenblicke sagen: verweile doch! Du bist so schön.", in: Brennpunkte der Sportwissenschaft 9 (1995) No. 1 and 2, 115.

(34) G. A. Pilz, Sport und Gesundheit, in: Sport und Gesundheit, edited by D. Küpper and others(Schorndorf 1991) 111.

(35) R. Rost, Gesundheit und Gesundheitserziehung, in: Brennpunkte der Sportwissenschaft 1 (1987) 60.

(36) M. Steinbach, Der Hochleistungssport, in: Rekorde aus der Retorte, edited by A. Natan (Stuttgart 1972) 52 et sequ.

(37) K.-H. Bette and U. Schimank, Doping im Hochleistungssport (Frankfurt 1995) 113.

(38) ibid. 285.

(39) ibid. 113 et sequ.

(40) H. Krahl, Orthopädie und Sportmedizin, in: Sportärztliche und sportpädagogische Betreuung, edited by A. Claus (Erlangen 1978) 209.

(41) T. Wessinghage, Kinder und Hochleistungssport aus orthopädischer Sicht, in: Kinder und Jugendliche im Hochleistungssport, edited by R. Daugs and others(Schorndorf 1998) 250.

(42) Bette u. Schimank (note 37) 218.

(43) Moltmann (note 11) 435.

(44) B. Wirkus, Olympismus als Geschichtsphilosophie und Ideologie, in: Stadion 18 (1992) 320.

(45) ibid. 320 f.

(46) D. Mieth, Jenseits aller Moral - Ersatzreligion Sport, in: Sportwissenschaft 27 (1997) 181.

(47) quoted after G. Drexel, Existentielle Krise und sportanthropologisches Denken, in: Für einen besseren Sport, edited by H. Gabler and others (Schorndorf 1990) 235.