Performance Factors and Strategies Favored by French Olympic Athletes

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 French Sport Institute (Institut National du Sport, de l’Expertise et de la Performance)
  • 2 Paris University
  • 3 The National Center for Scientific Research, CNRS
  • 4 Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1
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This article presents the performance factors identified by Olympic athletes and analyzes how they were prioritized and implemented during the 2012–2016 Olympiad. To address this issue, 28 semistructured interviews were conducted with French athletes who participated in the Olympic Games in 2016. The analysis shows that to achieve performance, only two factors were implemented by all the athletes: training and physical preparation. The other factors, namely, mental preparation, nutrition, and recovery care, were not implemented by all athletes. In addition, two main types of configurations have been identified: a minority of athletes (n = 4) for whom the choice of performance factors and their implementation are controlled by the coach and a majority (n = 24) who adopts secondary adjustments by relying on a parallel network.

Joncheray, Burlot, and Desenfant are with the Laboratoire Sport Expertise Performance (EA 7370), French Sport Institute (Institut National du Sport, de l’Expertise et de la Performance), Paris, France. Joncheray and Besombes are with the Institut des Sciences du Sport-Santé de Paris (URP3625—I3SP), Paris University, Paris, France. Dalgalarrondo is with the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Enjeux Sociaux, IRIS (UMR8156), The National Center for Scientific Research, CNRS, Paris, France; and the French Sport Institute (Institut National du Sport, de l’Expertise et de la Performance), Paris, France. Desenfant is also with the Laboratoire sur Les Vulnérabilités et L’Innovation dans le Sport (EA 7428), Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France.

Helene Joncheray (helene.joncheray@insep.fr) is corresponding author.
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