Volunteering Abroad: Motives for Travel to Volunteer at the Athens Olympic Games

in Journal of Sport Management

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Sheranne FairleyUniversity of Massachusetts

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Pamm KellettDeakin University

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B. Christine GreenUniversity of Texas at Austin

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Volunteers have become essential to the delivery of sport events. Megaevents, such as the Olympic Games, rely on a large number of volunteers for the successful running of the event, some of whom travel to volunteer. This study investigates the motives of a group of people who volunteered at the Sydney Olympics as they prepared to travel to volunteer at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Four key motives were identified: (a) nostalgia, (b) camaraderie and friendship, (c) Olympic (i.e., subcultural) connection, and (d) sharing and recognition of expertise. The motives identified distinguish event volunteer tourists from other volunteer tourists and from other event volunteers. It is suggested that the recruitment, retention, and reacquisition of event volunteers will be served by understanding the motives and experiences of repeat event volunteers.

Fairley is with the Sport Management Dept. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. Kellett is with the Bowater School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria 3125 Australia. Green is with the Sport Management Program, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712.

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