Sports "transcend" because we all know the rules. A marathon is a marathon whether you're in ancient Greece, Tehran or Toronto. We may be living in a world of cultural relativism, but there's no such thing as sports relativism. Aside from the subjective nature of gymnastics scoring, where deductions are sometimes in the eye of the beholder, a false start is a false start, a finish line is a finish line. The quest for excellence is universal, regardless of what flag you compete under. This is why watching Lolo Jones stumble over the ninth hurdle, or seeing Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang walk away from the race of his life due to injury, is so heart wrenching. We understand winning and losing; we're genetically hardwired to strive for and empathize with what Jim McKay, the legendary sportscaster who passed away this summer, so famously called "the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat."

— rules in sports  

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