This article examines the history of synchronized swimming in Ontario, with a specific focus on Peterborough, between the 1920s and the 1950s. Two factors explain the rise and consolidation of “synchro” as a women’s sport in the period. The first factor relates to earlier changes in women’s sport in the interwar period, alongside the rise of modern hegemonic beauty culture. As synchro struggled for official recognition, coaches and swimmers embraced feminine beauty constructs to generate popularity for their sport. The second factor relates to the nationalistic approach to sport development in the 1940s and 1950s. Financial and ideological investment in sport as important for national health and physical fitness allowed synchro to grow and flourish. As exemplified by the Peterborough club, these two factors allowed Canadian women to play a formative role in the national and international development of synchro as a sport to produce fit and beautiful bodies.
Matthew S. Wiseman and Jane Nicholas
Eileen Díaz McConnell, Neal Christopherson, and Michelle Janning
In 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Team earned its fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup. Has gendered commentary in media coverage about the U.S. Women’s National Team changed since winning their first World Cup 20 years ago? Drawing on 188 newspaper articles published in three U.S. newspapers in 2019, the analyses contrast media representations of the 2019 team with a previous study focused on coverage of the 1999 team. Our analysis shows important shifts in the coverage over time. The 1999 team was popular because of their contradictory femininity in which they were “strong-yet-soft.” By 2019, the team’s popularity was rooted in their talent, hard work, success, and refusal to be silent about persisting gender-based disparities in sport and the larger society.
Ted Hayduk and Johan Rewilak
It is acknowledged that the economic benefits of hosting a sporting mega event are overestimated and/or short lived. However, many studies neglect the impact of the industrial sector, preferring to focus on service sector activity. It is further claimed that hosting a sporting mega event funnels a nation’s resources into one specific region at the expense of others. Therefore, this article empirically investigates whether industrial firms in Beijing disproportionately (a) increased their invested capital ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games and (b) became more profitable after the Games relative to similar firms from comparable Chinese nonhost cities. Using a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, the authors find no disproportionate impact of the Olympic Games on Beijing firms’ invested capital or profitability.
Chris Knoester, B. David Ridpath, and Rachel Allison
Using descriptive and multiple regression analyses of data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,993), this study examines public opinions about athletes’ right to protest during the national anthem. Results suggest that public opinion is now more supportive of athletes being allowed to protest during the anthem, although considerable opposition persists. Black individuals and those who recognize racial/ethnic discrimination in society are especially likely to support athletes’ right to protest. Heterosexual, Christian, sports fan, and military identities seem to encourage opposition to the right to protest. Indicators of traditionalism and sports nationalism attitudes are also negatively associated with support for athlete protests.
Jeanette Steinmann, Brian Wilson, Mitchell McSweeney, Emerald Bandoles, and Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst
Safe space—a physical and psychosocial space cultivated through social relations—can be vital for youth programs and community development. This paper analyzes youth participants’ experiences in a Canadian bicycle program. The authors suggest that the program can be seen as a form of “Sport for Development,” and specifically what the authors term “Bicycles for Development”—as the bicycle is considered as a possible catalyst for development. Using interviews and photos, the role of “safe space” in the growing body of Bicycles for Development literature is highlighted, and the authors make a connection between Sport for Development scholarship and literature related to youth cultural activities and spaces. The findings reveal the benefits associated with program engagement and challenges despite program-related benefits.
David Fechner, Kevin Filo, Sacha Reid, and Robyn Cameron
Sponsoring charity sport events (CSEs) represents an opportunity for businesses to achieve a variety of marketing objectives. Event sponsors need to promote their brand in an authentic manner because CSE participants may be skeptical of the sponsor if they believe the organization is supporting the event solely for commercial purposes. The current research examines the perceptions that CSE participants have for a sponsor’s contribution to the value creation process of the event. Semistructured interviews (N = 17) were conducted with MS (multiple sclerosis) Moonlight Walk 2018 participants to explore how this key stakeholder perceives the contribution of the sponsor (Harbour ISP [Internet service provider]) in the event experience. Five themes were uncovered: raising CSE awareness, cultivating a fundraising network, engaging authentically, celebrating constituents, and providing operational support. Building on the findings of this research, CSE managers and sponsors should work to share the story behind their partnership while integrating event participants in the development of the sponsorship program.
Elizabeth B. Delia, Jeffrey D. James, and Daniel L. Wann
Adding to research on team identification and well-being, inquiry into meaning in life and team identification could illuminate how sport fandom impacts consumers’ lives. In the current study, an instrumental case study design was used to explore how team identification impacts meaning in life, focusing on significance. Participant diaries and interviews with identified fans of a professional women’s basketball team revealed that connecting with family and friends, supporting women’s sport, and enhancing mental health via support of the team were sources of significance in participants’ lives. The findings illustrate that meaning in life is not necessarily experienced just from being a highly identified fan. Instead, specific elements of one’s connection to the team provide meaning. The findings also highlight the importance of close relationships over imaginary intimate relationships, impacting social justice among fans of women’s sport, and how mental health via fandom may provide older adults significance.