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Olympians' Attitudes toward Olympic Values: A “Sporting” Life History Approach

Grix, Jonathan and Gallant and Brannagan and Jones (2020) Olympians' Attitudes toward Olympic Values: A “Sporting” Life History Approach. Journal of Olympic Studies, 1 (2). pp. 72-99. ISSN 2639-6017

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Abstract

The literature on the Olympics has grown exponentially in the last twenty years. What has not received much, if any, attention, however, are the athletes themselves. Given that Olympians are essential to the existence of the Games and that governments worldwide increasingly seek international prestige through the funding of elite sport policy, the lack of research in this regard is, therefore, surprising. The current paper seeks, in part, to redress this imbalance. It does so by focusing on Olympians' attitudes to Olympic values—given that Olympic values are central to the Olympic Movement—gathered through a wider project on the “sporting” life history of fifty-seven British athletes. The study's findings are paradoxical and appear to be at odds with the Olympic values set out in the Olympic Charter. In particular, the study finds British athletes' attitudes toward Olympic values tend to shift dramatically between the period in which they compete and their post-athletic careers.

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