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The condition of high-performance athletes in France since the Mazeaud Law of 1975

Abstract : High-level athletes are accorded deferential treatment by the French state. They enjoy the status of ‘high-performance athletes', which entitles them to assistance from the state and a set of special provisions. This paper provides an overview of the political circumstances in which this status was originated and developed, from its initial recognition under the 1975 Sports Law to the paradoxical social effects that this state policy has had on its beneficiaries: the athletes themselves. The first part of the paper is based largely on a search of parliamentary archives relating to the adoption of this law, known as the Mazeaud law, while the second part is based on a survey and interviews conducted with a number of French athletes who were selected for the 1972 and 1992 Olympic Games in Munich and Barcelona respectively. In addressing these two key phases in the recognition of athlete status, its political development and its subsequent reception, the article illustrates the changes in both status and condition of high-performance athlete, based on very different time scales and inspired by fairly different expectations. Given that the present system aims to improve the position of athletes in terms of their post-competitive lives, the long-term benefit of representing France under these circumstances remains questionable.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 3:46:05 PM
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Sébastien Fleuriel, Manuel Schotte. The condition of high-performance athletes in France since the Mazeaud Law of 1975. International Journal of the History of Sport, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2011, 28 (18), pp.2707-2725. ⟨10.1080/09523367.2011.611928⟩. ⟨halshs-01145251⟩



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