The U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council decided in 1987, for the first time, to assign a sport psychologist to the medical team of the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival. This article describes the outcome of providing sport psychology services at the Festival. A brief history is given of the relationship between sport psychology and the U.S. Olympic movement, and the current status of sport psychologists within the Olympic movement is described. An analysis is provided of the types of services requested at the Festival, the referral sources, the major sports served, and several illustrative case examples describing athletes. Two models influenced the delivery of sport psychology services at the Olympic Festival, the medical model and the consultation model, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are discussed. Based upon the Olympic Festival experience, a consultation model may be appropriate for sport psychologists working in such a setting. The paper concludes with some suggestions regarding the training of students in the theory of effective consultation, drawing upon the knowledge base of industrial-organizational and medical psychology.
Shane Murphy is with the Department of Sport Psychology, U.S. Olympic Complex, 1750 E. Boulder, Colorado Springs, CO 80909-5760.