Great British Athletes’ Perceptions of Competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Author: Rachel Kent*

*Corresponding Author Address:
Rachel kent
E-mail: coach_kent@hotmail.com

Abstract
To review Great British (GB) athletes’ perceptions of home court advantage and competing ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted. The seven topics discussed in the interview were based on previous research. Five female GB Olympic sprinters were interviewed at their training facility in West London as they trained for the 2012 Olympic Games. Athlete responses were coded into categories then analysed using phenomenological analysis.

Athletes had a range of reasons why they believed they had a ‘home advantage.’ All athletes agreed that media representation could be good if media was positive but was bad when the media coverage was negative. Athletes reported a range of expectations some expressing high expectations and associated higher levels of performance anxiety. Athletes reporting lower levels of expectations had lower levels of performance anxiety. Athletes reported different sources of expectations and the significance of the source to them and their anxiety. The implications of the research findings suggest recommendations for media and sponsors, coaches, family, and friends to help provide the athletes with the optimum levels of unconditional support to aid in performance and prevent pressure, stress and pre-competitive anxiety.

KEYWORDS: Olympic Games, Olympics, Home Court Advantage, Expectancy Theory, Self-fulfilling prophecy, Media bias, Athletes, Phenomenological Analysis

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