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Peter Elsborg, Gregory M. Diment and Anne-Marie Elbe

The objective of this study was to explore how sport psychology consultants perceive the challenges they face at the Olympic Games. Post-Olympics semistructured interviews with 11 experienced sport psychology consultants who worked at the London Games were conducted. The interviews were transcribed and inductively content analyzed. Trustworthiness was reached through credibility activities (i.e., member checking and peer debriefing). The participants perceived a number of challenges important to being successful at the Olympic Games. These challenges were divided into two general themes: Challenges Before the Olympics (e.g., negotiating one’s role) and Challenges During the Olympics (e.g., dealing with the media). The challenges the sport psychology consultants perceived as important validate and cohere with the challenge descriptions that exist in the literature. The findings extend the knowledge on sport psychology consultancy at the Olympic Games by showing individual contextual differences between the consultants’ perceptions and by identifying four SPC roles at the Olympic Games.

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Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Brennan K. Berg and Rhema D. Fuller

Games. Highly institutionalized across the globe, the Olympic Games rely on institutional rules and norms that preserve the status quo. For instance, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Rule 50 states the following: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in

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Claudio M. Rocha

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organizing committees have strived to build popular support for the Olympic Games (OG) because local support has been considered a key element to host successful Games ( Deccio & Baloglu, 2002 ; Gursoy & Kendall, 2006 ; Preuss & Solberg, 2006 ; Waitt

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Inge Derom and Donna Lee

Background:

The City of Vancouver, British Columbia strategically designed and implemented a municipal health promotion policy—the Vancouver Active Communities policy—to leverage the 2010 Olympic Games. The goal of the policy was to increase physical activity participation among Vancouver residents by 2010.

Methods:

In this paper, we conduct a critical policy analysis of health promotion policy documents that were available on the City of Vancouver’s website.

Results:

We elaborate on the background to the policy and more specifically we examine its content: the problem definition, policy goals, and policy instruments.

Discussion:

Our analysis showed inconsistency within the policy, particularly because the implemented policy instruments were not designed to address needs of the identified target populations in need of health promotion efforts, which were used to legitimize the approval of funding for the policy. Inconsistency across municipal policies, especially in terms of promoting physical activity among low-income residents, was also problematic.

Conclusions:

If other municipalities seek to leverage health promotion funding related to hosting sport mega-events, the programs and services should be designed to benefit the target populations used to justify the funding. Furthermore, municipalities should clearly indicate how funding will be maintained beyond the life expectancy of the mega-event.

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Kristine Toohey and Tracy Taylor

Since 1972, there has been an association between terrorism, violence, and the Olympic Games. The events of September 11, 2001, however, clearly reescalated concerns about the Games being a terrorist target. This conceptual article discusses the theories of the risk society and the precautionary principle to understand and interpret how visitors to the most recent Summer Games, Athens 2004, framed their decision to attend. Consistent with risk theory, a strong public and financial commitment to safety at the Games was evident, with the organizers undertaking wide-ranging large-scale risk management initiatives. Athens attendees, while displaying tenets of risk aversion and engagement with a discourse of fear, also showed resilience, resistance, and indifference to potential terrorism threats. Implications for both theory and practice are noted.

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Heather J. Gibson, Christine Xueqing Qi and James J. Zhang

Although there is growing awareness of the relationship between hosting mega-sporting-events and destination image, there is little empirical evidence documenting what images people hold before an event. The purpose of this study was to investigate the images young Americans hold of China both as a tourist destination and as the host of the 2008 Olympic Games. Specifically, the relationships among destination image, travel intentions, and tourist characteristics were explored. A total of 350 college students were surveyed before the close of the Athens Olympic Games. Overall, the respondents perceived China and the Beijing Olympic Games positively. Destination image was significantly (p < .05) predictive of the intention to travel to China and the Olympic Games. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that destination image partially mediated the relationship between past international travel experience and intention to travel. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed with a view to promoting China as a tourist destination and the host of the Olympic Games.

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Sheranne Fairley, Pamm Kellett and B. Christine Green

Volunteers have become essential to the delivery of sport events. Megaevents, such as the Olympic Games, rely on a large number of volunteers for the successful running of the event, some of whom travel to volunteer. This study investigates the motives of a group of people who volunteered at the Sydney Olympics as they prepared to travel to volunteer at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Four key motives were identified: (a) nostalgia, (b) camaraderie and friendship, (c) Olympic (i.e., subcultural) connection, and (d) sharing and recognition of expertise. The motives identified distinguish event volunteer tourists from other volunteer tourists and from other event volunteers. It is suggested that the recruitment, retention, and reacquisition of event volunteers will be served by understanding the motives and experiences of repeat event volunteers.

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Terry Orlick

This article shares personal perspectives and experiences that emerged as a result of 15 years of consulting with athletes representing numerous sports at both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The importance of listening closely to athletes, respecting their input, and meeting their individual needs is emphasized. Consultants are cautioned against using batteries of standardized personality assessment inventories as these infringe upon the athletes’ time without providing practical information. Effectiveness in this field requires firsthand experience with sport, a full understanding of the psychology of excellence, and a willingness to learn directly from the athletes themselves. One-on-one contact, adaptability to individual needs, good interpersonal skills, applied sportpsych knowledge, and persistence in application are also important. It is recommended that registration of consultants in the field of applied sport psychology be contingent upon direct evaluation by athletes.

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Wayne Halliwell

Despite the fact that Olympic sailing is a psychologically demanding sport, few countries use the services of sport psychologists to mentally prepare their athletes for the rigors of international competition. At the 1988 Summer Olympic Games only Canada and France had sport psychologists working on site with the athletes during the Games. This article describes the educational, mental skills approach used to prepare the Canadian Olympic Sailing Team as well as the athlete and coach mental preparation programs. Components of the team’s Olympic Preparation Plan are outlined and the use of thorough planning and preparation to bolster the athletes’ feelings of readiness and confidence is discussed. The importance of providing athletes with a distraction-free environment during the Games is also discussed, along with a plan for accommodating the needs of their family members and the media.

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Chengli Tien, Huai-Chun Lo and Hsiou-Wei Lin

This study concerns research related to mega events, such as the Olympic Games, to determine whether the economic impact of the Olympic Games on the host countries is significant. This study uses two methods, panel data analysis and event study, to test hypotheses based on the data from 15 countries that have hosted 24 summer and winter Olympic Games. The results indicate that the economic impact of the Olympic Games on the host countries is only significant in terms of certain parameters (i.e., gross domestic product performance and unemployment) in the short term. These findings provide decision makers with comprehensive and multidimensional knowledge about the economic impact of hosting a mega event and about whether their objectives can be realized as expected.