Online Communities Among International Masters Gymnastics Participants: A Uses and Gratifications Analysis

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Andrea N. Geurin-Eagleman Griffith University, Australia.

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Masters sport participation is continually increasing, and although much research has uncovered masters participation motives, it has been noted that an understanding of community among masters athletes was also necessary. Online communities of sport participants have been examined only minimally, with research uncovering correlations between new-media use and sport-participation frequency. Using uses and gratifications theory, this study sought to examine masters gymnastics participants to develop a better understanding of athletes’ use of online communities in relation to their sport participation and examine differences in online community use based on demographics. Online survey results from 164 international participants revealed they used new media primarily for fanship, information, and technical knowledge, and online masters gymnastics communities were most often extensions of in-person training groups and communities. These findings and their implications are discussed in the article.

The author is with the Dept. of Tourism, Sport, and Hotel Management, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

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