Interview With Halvor Lea, Head of Communications at the Norwegian Olympic Sports Center (Olympiatoppen)
The Global Impact of Olympic Media at London 2012
Guidelines for Need-Supportive Coach Development: The Motivation Activation Program in Sports (MAPS)
Hedda Berntsen and Elsa Kristiansen
The purpose of this article is to share the conceptual framework, design, and impact evidence of a coach development program that was aimed at teaching coaches how to act need-supportive toward their athletes. Informed by Self-Determination Theory, the Motivation Activation Program in Sports (MAPS) was developed to contribute a coach interpersonal-style perspective to the Norwegian Ski Federation education system. The program was delivered at the Norwegian College of Elite Sport throughout the 2016/2017 season as a test trial. This article is organized into three sections. First, a detailed description of the conceptual framework used to inform MAPS is offered. Next, a thorough description of MAPS building components is provided. The third section of the article presents impact evidence of coaches’ learning experiences together with coaches’ practice examples of need-supportive coaching skills. Results reveal that MAPS taught coaches about need-supportive skills at the intrapersonal (awareness of own coaching practice) and interpersonal (interaction with athletes) level. In addition, effective need-support for athletes required sufficient time for each athlete, a gradual approach to athlete understanding, and a thorough consideration of specific situations.
Communicating the Athlete as a Brand: An Examination of LPGA Star Suzann Pettersen
Elsa Kristiansen and Antonio S. Williams
This article explored how a renowned LPGA golfer, Suzann Pettersen, has built and leveraged her personal brand. Using the athlete brand-equity model as the theoretical framework, a qualitative case study was built by means of interviews and document analyses. Specifically, this case detailed how Pettersen and her management team endeavored to build and manage her personal brand equity through organization-produced and -controlled brand-communications strategies. The findings of this case shed light on the challenges and opportunities that athletes and their constituents face when managing human brands. Moreover, the findings of this case support the use of previously proposed sport-branding conceptualizations in a real-world setting.
Journalists and Olympic Athletes: A Norwegian Case Study of an Ambivalent Relationship
Elsa Kristiansen and Dag Vidar Hanstad
This case study explores the relationship between media and sport. More specifically, it examines the association (i.e., the contact and communication) between Norwegian journalists and athletes during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. Ten athletes and three journalists were interviewed about their relationship. To regulate and improve the journalist–athlete relationship during special events like the Olympics, media rules have been formulated. In regard to the on-site interactions, they accepted that they are working together where one was performing and the other reporting the event “back home.” While the best advice is to be understanding of the journalists’ need for stories and inside information, the media coverage was perceived as a constant stress factor for the athletes. However, because of the media rules the athletes were able to keep their distance but one athlete did comment: “You will not survive if you take it personally.”
Serious Athletes or Media Clowns? Female and Male Wrestlers’ Perceptions of Media Constructions
Mari Kristin Sisjord and Elsa Kristiansen
The present study explores Norwegian female and male elite wrestlers’ perceptions of media coverage of wrestling and of themselves as athletes. In-depth interviews were conducted with four female and four male elite wrestlers. Data analysis revealed that the wrestlers experienced media attention as limited and gender stereotyped, with a dominant focus on hegemonic masculinity. In addition, the wrestlers perceived that media coverage distorted their sport performance by focusing on sensational aspects and scandals rather than on actual performances and results. Some of the athletes’ descriptions of representations in the sports media and commercial television illustrated that, in their perception, they were viewed more as media clowns than as serious athletes.
Managing Organizational and Media Stress: The Case of Elite Norwegian Skiers
Elsa Kristiansen, Barrie Houlihan, and Hans Anton Stubberud
This case study focuses on how Norwegian ski jumpers performed in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the following FIS (International Ski and Snowboard Federation) ski flying World Championships 2022 in Vikersund, Norway, despite organizational conflict at the management level and intense and sustained media coverage the entire season. Five athletes (one third of the elite squad) were interviewed about how they coped with the stressors. The results revealed two main responses: One group avoided, as far as possible, hearing or reading about the conflicts and tried to stay in their “bubble” and focus on preparing for competition. The other group chose to follow the conflicts and was more willing to interact with the media, therefore experienced a higher degree of perceived stress, and consequently needed to employ a wider range of coping strategies. The findings highlight the importance of a consistent and effective management strategy in helping athletes to focus on training and competition preparation and insulate them from stressors generated by organizational turbulence and conflicts.
The Norwegian Football Family and Strategic Crisis Communication
Elsa Kristiansen, Therese Dille, and Simon Tærud Day
This commentary uses the Norwegian Football Association’s COVID-19 crisis communication strategy as an example of how federations can take an active role and use their influence to guide and be proactive in the opening of a society after a lockdown. By paying close attention to the public debate and by interviewing the federation’s communication director, the authors outlined the four phases of the strategic crisis communication—and the consequences of them in Norway. While the first consequence was the postponing of the Euro Qualifier against Serbia on March 26 for the European Championship this summer, the lockdown changed the focus quickly, and the strategy became about getting all players back on the football fields. The authors elaborated on how a major federation can (and maybe should) take a leading role by using its “voice” in the media and public and expertise to aid reopening a society after lockdown.