Question and Answer: Platform for your sporting queries

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The Independent Online
Q. Why is ballroom dancing to be classed as a sport in the next Olympic Games? I have always regarded dancing as an art. Whatever next? Speed painting? Ice sculpture against the clock for the winter Games?

A. It seems the International Olympic Committee will adopt a broad approach when admitting new "sports" into the Olympic Games. An activity must be one that is carried out on a competitive basis and it must involve some physical exertion and/or skill as well as being essentially a game or leisure activity carried on in a minimum number of countries worldwide. Ballroom dancing would easily satisfy these criteria. However, your correspondent Mr Court's point is a good one and he is entitled to ask "whatever next?". In a famous court case in 1945 (Dupree's Wills Trust) Mr Justice Varley had to decide whether or not chess could be defined as a sport in order to grant charitable status to a donation funding a chess tournament. He decided that chess was a sport, but the text of his judgment said there was a slippery slope here and warned against extending the boundaries of sport too far, citing stamp collecting and acquiring bird's eggs as extreme examples. Maybe one day we will have an Olympic philately champion.

Mike Ward, Reddish, Cheshire


Q. On Boxing Day 1963, the goals scored in the 10 matches in the old First Division totalled 66, with 12 of the 20 teams scoring at least three goals and only two failing to score. Has any other day had a comparable goal feast at the top level?

Tom McCanna, Sheffield

Q. Much has been said about great strike partnerships now that Duncan Ferguson is to team up with Alan Shearer at Newcastle. But can any duo in international football beat the strike rate of Tottenham's Bobby Smith and Jimmy Greaves who scored 32 goals (Greaves 19, Smith 13) in just 14 games for England between 1960 and 1963?

Terry Massell, Watford