So gymnastics is not a sport? Weightlifting? Help me understand your definition better.
Sporting, yes, sportsmen involved in an athletic event or consider them athletes? no.
Athletes not only master their own skill, but do so when that mastery is directly challenged by somone else:
Sportsmen are only masters of their own skill. No direct intervention with anyone. Success or failure can(sometimes) be dictated by a third party(judges):
Most track/field events
Now, before I start getting flamed for not considering a 1000lb lift, or a perfect 10 in gymnastics athletic, I certainly feel that that level of personal mastery is extremely impressive.
There is also a minimum level of physicality in my definition as well. 'world series of poker', while being on espn, is only a game. Chess or 'go fish' is only a game.
But, again, the 'competitor' (-all ability levels being equal-), that not only has to deal with his/her own mastery but somone elses at the same time must surely be held in higher regard. I reserve that highest regard to be the 'athlete' or 'athletic event'. Second would be sportsmen.
Also, remember to keep ability levels similar with trying to wade thru what I posted. Comparing an olympic gymnast and some kids in the back yard playing 'tag' would be silly. But a 1000lift and a main event in the UFC, which event would you chose to be the athletes. Not all of them by any stretch of the imagination.