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It's not the winning but the taking part that counts

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Anne Ollmann

on 29 May 2012

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Transcript of It's not the winning but the taking part that counts

It's not the winning but the taking part that counts
1 Introduction
2 Origin
3 Linguistic background
3.1 Live statistics
4 Linguistic usage
4.1 Fields of usage
4.2 Opposite usage
5 Discussion & Feedback
6 Sources
BBC article “It's not the winning”
- trying and failing is more admirable than not trying at all
- in practice only interest in the medals
- perhaps 'taking part' is just a myth designed to cheer up the slowest children: to take the edge off failure
Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937)
The Olympic Games
- French educationalist and historian
- Founder of the International Olympic Committee
- "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."
Linguistic Usage
Fields of usage
“Win or lose, it’s the taking part that counts”

- Graeme Evans, extraordinary professor of Culture and Urban Development, on Maastricht as Capital of Culture 2018

- “Winning would be great, but second place could also be the best result. You still experience and benefit from the whole process but avoid the risks”
Opposite usage
Restaurant Service
"It’s not the winning it’s the taking part that counts"

Thursday, November 15, 2007 “tales of a sommelier”

Hotel Catey awards dinner in London -> author had
been nominated for an award in the Food and Beverage
service category -> didn’t win, but was happy to be part of it
Advertising, marketing, media & PR
“It’s the winning not the taking part”

By Alan Thorpe August 26 2009 (commercial and operations director, G2 Data Dynamics)

"The problem is that I can’t think of a single occasion when ‘just taking part’ or ‘being second best’ is good: lost the bid, lost the contract, lost the customer. Who remembers silver medallists? Who came second in the F1 championship in 2008? Which political leader that has lost an election has gone down in history? The way I see it, taking part and not winning is no fun at all"
- effort, determination and striving to reach a goal are commendable
- through sport one learns to persevere, to sacrifice, and to be self-disciplined, to work hard..

- Competition is not unethical -> it is reasonable that winners be rewarded, even if their victories have an element of chance
-> this is the essence of a game, and games are fundamental to humanity
"It’s not the winning – it’s the taking apart that counts"
Paul Odtaa July 11, 2009

This is the pseudo macho attitude of most sports people, be they players or followers. ‘It’s the taking part that counts’
– bah humbug. Stand near any amateur football, hockey or cricket match and what do you hear. Swearing, threats and usually dirty violence, when the referee or linesman is not working. And Good losers? No
Linguistic Background
“It's the winning, not the taking part that counts” on Olympic Games 2008
By Mihir Bose | 14:22 UK time, Saturday, 16 August 2008

- Sir Steve Redgrave made it clear that what matters to him was winning gold medals.
The total medals haul did not concern him, he would rate British performances on the basis of how many golds were won.

- Australian belief -> all that matters is winning is well known
2003 Cricket World Cup final in Johannesburg -> Australians had smashed the Indians that day but the Indian supporter took consolation from the fact that India had finished as runners up
Australian supporter turned round and told the Indian with a contempt in his voice that "Mate, you know what a runner up is? It means you are the first loser."

Now you may think this is the exact antitheses of the Olympic spirit. Surely it is all about competing , not winning? -> Don't you believe it.
Olympic winners like Michael Phelps want to win come what may, they see victory as defining their Olympic moment. Just taking part does not count and, of course, that winning mentality is crucial to success
Semantic Pattern of Terms
(to) win

1. (obsolete, transitive) To conquer, defeat.
2. (transitive) To triumph or achieve victory in (a game, a war, etc).
3. (transitive) To obtain (someone) by wooing.
4. (intransitive) To achieve victory.
Who would win in a fight between an octopus and a dolphin?
5. (transitive) To obtain something that is wanted.
The company hopes to win an order from the government worth over 5 million dollars.
6. (transitive) To cause a victory for someone.
The success of the economic policies should win Mr. Smith the next elections.
The policy success should win the elections for Mr. Smith.
"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing"
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing"
is a well-known quotation in sports -> American sports creed

It is attributed to UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell ("Red") Sanders, who mentioned this a couple of times during his time as football coach.
taking part

(idiomatic, intransitive, followed by "in") To participate or join.
He declined to take part in the meeting because
he did not feel he had anything to add.
(to) count

(intransitive) To enumerate the digits of one's numeral system.
Can you count to a hundred?
(transitive) To determine the number (of objects in a group).
There are three apples; count them.
(intransitive) To be of significance; to matter.
It doesn't count if you cheat with someone when you're drunk.
(intransitive) To be an example of something.
Apples count as a type of fruit.
(transitive) To consider something an example of something.
He counts himself as a hero after saving the cat from the river.
Source and Target Domain
“winning” and “taking part” can be tagged as literal
source domain
target domain
The act of counting or tallying
a quantity (mechanism)
clarify the significance
target concept:
success/ accomplishment
problem of a long phrase in search engines
instead of using 'COCA' --> live statistics:
Search for the phrase 'It's not the winning but the taking part that counts.'
Use the following search engines: google.com, yahoo.com, bing.com & search.com
To which fields of discourse does it belong? (e.g. sports, economy, society...)
(~5 minutes)
Meaning and Discourse
the concept of 'taking part' is referred to the concept of 'winning'
the relation delimits the use of each concept and makes the 'taking part' even more valuable than winning
Psychological Effect
What is a possible effect to the athlete/singer/...?
Would you like to hear that when you make the 8th place/ 2nd place?
Is it a "looser-saying"?
Additional Sources
Thank you for your attention!
Support for your Feedback
"Das Gelbe vom Ei"
The Linguistics of Sports
Dozent: H.G. Wolf
Referenten: Anne-Sophie Ollmann; Andreas Bruhns
Uni Potsdam, 29.05.2012
The Linguistics
"counting" - what counts?
Full transcript