B1 Reading Test
Read a text about cheating in sports, and for questions 1 to 7, choose the correct answer.
Cheating in sports
Anyone who loves sports will agree that cheating is bad. For example, it was simply wrong for Spain to enter people who were not actually disabled into the 2000 Sydney Paralympics basketball team. But sometimes, it is hard to draw a line between what is cheating and what is not. Many sports encourage players to be ‘sporting’, that is, to play honestly and accept when they lose. However, in sports, the prizes for winning are great, so it is natural for people to use different ways to win a game. Sometimes players cheat or bend the rules to get an advantage in a game.
Gamesmanship is when you try to win a game by bending the rules or using dubious tactics. For example, when British Team cyclist Philip Hindes had a bad start in a team race in the 2012 Olympics, he didn’t want to let his team down, and since he knew that if a rider fell early, the race would be restarted, he crashed his bike on purpose. Britain went on to win gold.
Other examples of gamesmanship are when players fake injuries or waste time. This might give them a chance for a short rest, or it could annoy their opponent and affect their concentration. For example, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, badminton player Carolina Marins screamed and shouted every time her opponent made a mistake. This affected her opponent’s feelings, and people thought she behaved rudely. However, she won the gold medal without breaking any rules.
When there is a grey area, it is the referee or umpire’s job to decide whether cheating is taking place. However, players can take advantage of this situation because referees aren’t perfect and can’t see everything. For example, in cricket, if the ball hits a batter’s legs, he is out, and most batters know when they are out, so they should leave the field immediately. However, few cricketers are sporting. They wait until the umpire tells them to go because they want to stay in the game, and the umpire might not see what happened. This isn’t considered cheating.
However, there’s no denying that Diego Maradona cheated in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals between England and Argentina. In that particular match, Maradona infamously scored a goal using his hand. The referee, who missed the incident, awarded the goal, and unsurprisingly, Maradona didn’t question the decision. But the game of football, however, isn’t always so forgiving of those who bend the rules, as Brazilian player Rivaldo knows. In the 2002 World Cup, he faked an injury during a match. Unlike Maradona, Rivaldo wasn’t so lucky; he was caught out and was later fined, proving that the outcomes of such actions are not always in the player’s favour.
Sometimes, players might even try to lose on purpose. At the 2012 London Olympics, four women’s badminton doubles teams from China, Indonesia and South Korea purposely played badly. They all wanted to lose because it would lead to an easier place in the tournament. Although none of the players broke any badminton rules, they were all disqualified for their poor sportsmanship.
Where there are games, people will always try different ways to win. But is bending the rules the same as cheating? Or does it just make the game more interesting because sports competitions are not only about physical skills but also about clever strategies?
Reading comprehension test
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