Is Bodybuilding a Sport?

Kind, Adrian
Helms, Eric R
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Journal Article
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Informa UK Limited

Since its beginnings, modern bodybuilding has been accompanied by the background issue of whether it should be considered a sport. The problem, culminating in its provisional acceptance as a sport by the International Olympic Committee, was later retracted. The uncertainty of whether bodybuilding is a sport or not seems to linger. Addressing this issue, Aranyosi (2018) provided an account to determine the status of bodybuilding as a sport that arrives at the negative answer: bodybuilding is not a sport but rather a form of artistic presentation. In this paper, we disagree with Aranyosi. We argue that by the standards he presents in his first argument, bodybuilding should be considered a sport. Further, we argue that his alternative approach on how to evaluate a discipline as more sport- or art-like on a spectrum, is not a valid basis to make such a judgment regarding bodybuilding. Further, even if his spectrum was modified to enable such a judgment, again it would result in bodybuilding being evaluated as a sport. Therefore, we conclude that everyone who accepts Aranyosi´s (or any less restrictive) requirements to decide whether bodybuilding is a sport, has to consider bodybuilding as a sport or refrain from making claims about its status.

50 Philosophy and Religious Studies , 5001 Applied Ethics , 5002 History and Philosophy Of Specific Fields , 11 Medical and Health Sciences , 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies , Sport Sciences , 5001 Applied ethics , 5002 History and philosophy of specific fields
Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, ISSN: 0094-8705 (Print); 1543-2939 (Online), Informa UK Limited, 50(2), 281-299. doi: 10.1080/00948705.2023.2234978
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© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.