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Morten Renslo Sandvik, Åse Strandbu and Sigmund Loland

In everyday communication, participants can critically explore their understanding of morally complex phenomena. There has been little effort within the social sciences to provide insight into whether and how athletes communicate among themselves about morally contested topics. This study attempts to fill this gap in the literature. Through focus group interviews and with the help of Goffman’s frame analysis, we explore how a group of young, Norwegian road cyclists communicates about doping. The article demonstrates that this communication is strongly norm-regulated and often appears as brief, assertive, and evasive. We show how the communication reflects a hegemonic discourse of doping as immoral and inexcusable. We conclude that this discourse limits explorative communication and may limit young athletes’ preparation for doping-related dilemmas and social pressures.

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Kari Stefansen, Gerd Marie Solstad, Åse Strandbu and Maria Hansen

In this paper, we use data from focus group interviews with young athletes to explore their thinking about coach-athlete sexual relationships (CASRs). Our aim is to further the understanding of the ambivalence surrounding CASRs in the sports field, which are simultaneously viewed as ethically problematic and acceptable—at least when they involve high-profile adult athletes. Inspired by Swidler’s toolkit approach to culture, we analyze how athletes understand and justify CASRs. We found that three different ethics were activated in the interviews: the safeguarding, love, and athletic-performance ethics. We discuss how these ethics are linked to different underlying “imaginaries,” or cultural frames, about the meaning of sport in society and offer thoughts on how the results can inform sporting organizations’ future prevention efforts.