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Henk Erik Meier and Cosima von Uechtriz

Athletic success in women’s sports, in particular in women’s soccer, is strongly linked to macrolevel gender equality within societies. There is also evidence that macrolevel gender equality matters for sport consumption. This study explored the role of mesolevel institutions for the popularity of women’s soccer. The example of reunified Germany illustrates that macrolevel gender equality might be less important for the popularity of women’s sport than mesolevel gender equality, that is, policy priorities adopted by sport associations and other actors involved in sport policymaking. The study comes with practical implications for the future popularity of women’s soccer.

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Michael B. Devlin, Kenon A. Brown, Natalie Brown-Devlin and Andrew C. Billings

Nationalistic notions are embedded within every part of the Olympic Games, inculcating feelings pertaining to one’s nation. Previous research examined the degree to which one is affected by portrayals of nationalism during international sporting events, finding that media consumption and results increase nationalistic feelings. However, such analyses rarely infused overarching fandom into the equation and failed to make global comparisons. This study surveyed 2,245 people from three continents in six different nations (Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States) to examine nationalistic attitudes during the 2018 Winter Olympics and subsequent effects. Significant differences between nationalized qualities manifested between each continent, as did their paths to becoming a fan and consuming content.

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Cecilia Stenling and Michael Sam

Despite an increase of advocacy by established nongovernmental sport organizations, little is known about how advocacy is enacted and with what effects. Building conceptually on frame alignment theory and empirically on interview data from 19 Swedish Regional Sport Federations, this article investigates how advocates politicize sport to gain “insider status” and analyses the by-products of such efforts. This research demonstrates that the architecture of advocacy claims perpetuates a separation between organizations that “sell” sport from those that “produce” it. Framing also impels centralized authority because advocates safeguard their credibility as political actors by taking up a “leadership-position” vis-à-vis clubs. Advocacy frame alignment has further by-products insofar as they narrow advocates’ room for maneuver and become institutionalized over time.

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Catherine Phipps

Sport is often considered an important part of United Kingdom (U.K.) university life. However, a limited amount of research has explored inclusion in university sport, particularly considering student union officers’ perceptions. As part of a wider study on LGBT+ sport, a U.K.-wide survey was conducted with officers, alongside focus groups at four institutions. Findings suggest further action can be taken to increase sports’ accessibility. Despite evidence of discrimination toward LGBT+ students, accessible practices were not prioritized at all institutions. For instance, equality policies and trans* inclusion policies had not always been created or embedded into the running of the student unions. The findings may be useful for student unions and others in control of sport provision to increase inclusion for all.

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Gareth McNarry, Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson and Adam B. Evans

Pain has long been associated with sports participation, being analyzed variously as a physical phenomenon, as well as a sociocultural construct in sport sociological literature. In this article, the authors employ a sociological–phenomenological approach to generate novel insights into the underresearched domain of “lived” pain in competitive swimming. Analytic attention is paid to specific aspects of pain, including “discomfort” and “good pain,” and how these sensations can be positively experienced and understood by the swimmers, as well as forming an integral part of the everyday routines of competitive swimming. Here, training is seen as “work” in the pursuit of athletic improvement. Discomfort and good pain thus become perceived as by-products of training, providing swimmers with important embodied information on pace, energy levels, and other bodily indicators of performance.

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Jamie Cleland, Stacey Pope and John Williams

This article draws on the responses of 2,347 football fans (male = 83.4%; female = 16.6%) collected via an online survey from September 2015 to January 2016 regarding the position of women (as fans, coaches, referees, journalists, board members, and administrators) in the gender order in men’s professional association football in the United Kingdom. Engaging with the theoretical framework of hegemonic masculinity, the authors addressed two recurring themes emerging from the results: the exclusionary practices of sexism and subordination aimed at women in men’s football and the extent to which women are regarded as “authentic” fans, given the gender inequalities and power imbalances they face in their practice of fandom in men’s football. The article concludes by suggesting that, although there are emerging “progressive” male attitudes toward women in men’s football, hegemonic and complicit masculinities remain a significant feature in the culture of fandom in men’s professional football in the United Kingdom.

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Jennifer L. Walton-Fisette and Theresa A. Walton-Fisette

Distance running is a popular form of physical activity within the United States and the world. Many distance runners experience some form of injury, causing them to seek treatment and advice from a variety of medical professionals. The authors explored how a small group of medical professionals advised and treated patients in regard to engaging in distance running. The authors found that with diverse personal experiences in running, medical professionals are clearly impacted by their own embodied experiences of, and personal beliefs about, distance running in how they treat and advise patients. Therefore, they draw from diverse medical epistemologies in their clinical judgments, including their own embodied experiences, clinical observations, evidenced-based research, narrative medicine, and intersectionality.

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Georgia Cervin

This paper examines the governing body of international gymnastics, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) and its relationship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It outlines the nature of the relationship between the two bodies and how that relationship has historically impacted the resulting policy of both organizations. In particular, this research focuses on three main areas of policy. The first is economics and the shift from amateur to professional and commercial gymnastics. When the IOC began to develop commercial interests, the FIG feared losing its purity if it was to follow suit. Second, it explores policy surrounding gender. This is particularly relevant in a sport where each discipline is not only categorized by gender, but also contested on the basis of performance-gendered ideals. And finally, this research examines athlete welfare. Gymnastics is known for its young, docile participant base and, more recently, cases of sexual abuse in the United States. While a range of protective policies have since been created, what existed at an international level before then? I argue that the FIG has had to work within the confines of its Olympic remit in order to retain its relevance to the Olympic behemoth and its inclusion in the Games as gymnastics’ pinnacle event. At the same time, the FIG has mediated Olympic policy and exerted the will of the IOC over stakeholders in gymnastics. Moreover, this relationship is symbiotic: gymnastics is one of the top three most popular Olympic sports, attracting viewership and its attendant commercial benefits to the Games. This research is based on FIG bulletins and IOC correspondence, and it builds on a range of secondary works about the role of International Federations, their policies, and their rules in shaping the sports they govern.