While research and scholarship on the dynamic interconnections between sport and health has steadily grown in the sociocultural study of sport in the past few decades, this paper focuses more directly on the politics of health within sport. Drawing on a small study of the lived experiences and understandings of health, pain/injury, risk and precaution among 12 male and female high performance youth (16–19 years of age) triathletes and three coaches, we outline the ways in which health becomes depoliticized among high performance athletes as our participants made no connection to health as a political phenomenon—within or outside of sport—or to their own right to health as members of the high performance sport community. We conclude by offering some suggestions as to why health was (and is) rendered apolitical in high performance youth triathlon.
Safai is with the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Johnson and Bryans are with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.