The classical definition of truth, as the correspondence of something we can call facts and our image of them, applies to discussing those sports where a result is established by simple and unequivocal evaluation, based on sensory perceptions. In the most popular athletic contests, we do not perceive who wins, but we know the result of a measurement, which is later interpreted as the victory or taking a further place. The reading of a measuring device only represents the result, which does not mean that it really is the result. We do not know the real result; by reading the digits on the screen, we already read a sign. Subsequently, it can be interpreted as the sign of victory. We assume that by improving our measuring methods we approach the true representation of the results. It would be, however, naive, to claim that this process will lead to the measurement ceasing to represent and starting to be the represented object, unmediated through any signs. Therefore, apart from the classical conception of truth, we can define truth in sport semiotically as representation, and subsequently interpretation, of a sporting event, performed by the referees and spectators. In this definition truth is sanctioned by the referee's decision, not necessarily based on facts.
Some professional sports can be compared to science. A scientific experiment must observe strictly defined conditions and take into account factors valid for its course and results. The conditions of a "sporting experiment" are strictly defined and their correctness is guarded by men and machines. In science, the discovery of a falsehood disqualifies a given "scientific event"; in sport a mistake or breaking the rules can become a controversial decision or a refereeing mistake, and usually are not changed or reviewed, turning into the "truth of sport".
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.