USOC: Athletes Should Not Be Allowed to Compete in Their Professional Sport

Associated Press

Professional athletes should be barred from competing in any Olympic event in which they have been paid to perform, the United States Olympic Committee said in a statement released Tuesday.

The USOC also said, however, that professionals should be allowed to enter other Olympic sports in which they are not considered professionals.

Each international federation should define which athletes are "professional" in a sport, the statement said, adding that it recognizes that different sports have divergent views on this issue.

"The Olympic Games should remain a goal for all athletes and not degenerate into simply another forum for professional athletes," USOC President Robert H. Helmick said. "Millions of Americans support amateur sports and the U.S. Olympic Committee with their efforts and hard-earned dollars because they believe in the Olympic dream and amateur sport."

The announcement comes as the International Olympic Committee, as well as international federations in the various Olympic sports, prepare to set their eligibility standards for the 1988 games in Seoul.

The IOC's 91st Congress is scheduled for Oct. 8-18 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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