Sportsmanship is, in a basic sense, conforming to the rules of sport, more grandly it may be considered the ethos of sport. It is interesting that the motivation for sport is often an elusive element. For example, beginners in sailing are often told that dinghy racing is a good means to sharpen the learner's sailing skills. However, it often emerges that skills are honed to increase racing performance and achievements in competition, rather than the converse.
Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, but often the pressures of competition, individual achievement, or introduction of technology can seem to work against enjoyment by participants.
The conflict between sportsmanship and paid sports is explored futher in professional sports.
See Also: The Spirit of the Game