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Sex, money and luck in sport
  1. Clare Chambers
  1. Faculty of Philosophy, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB5 8BL, UK
  1. Correspondence to Prof Clare Chambers, Faculty of Philosophy, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB5 8BL, UK; cec66{at}

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Competitive sport is not governed by luck egalitarianism. Luck egalitarianism is intended to minimise or prevent all inequalities that arise from luck, as these inequalities are judged to be unjust. Sigmund Loland1 correctly notes that there are elements of luck egalitarian practice in sports: competitors must run the same distances, use the same equipment and so on. However, these measures of standardisation do not level the playing field, because competitors are at liberty to use as much money as they can to further their own chances of success. They may buy the best equipment they or their sponsors can afford; they may spend money to access world-class training facilities; they may employ the most expensive coaches, physiotherapists and nutritionists; they may use personal wealth to minimise the need to earn money and maximise training time.

Differences in wealth lead to enormous inequalities between competitors, and these differences largely come down to the luck of their position in various socioeconomic hierarchies. Every sportsperson is affected by socioeconomic luck.

Luck plays a role in other ways, too: an archer’s shot is affected by a gust of wind; an athlete’s hopes are dashed by injury; a team’s path through a tournament depends on the initial draw. For a luck egalitarian, …

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  • Twitter @drclarechambers

  • Funding This study was funded by Leverhulme Trust.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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