Some like it hot? Elite female athlete perspectives on competing in extreme climatic conditions at world championship sports events
International Journal of Event and Festival Management
Article publication date: 24 December 2020
Issue publication date: 19 January 2021
This paper explores perspectives of elite female athletes competing at world championship sports events, hosted in extreme climatic conditions. From the athlete perspective, it examines the implications of decisions by global sports federations when selecting host cities and the subsequent impacts upon elite athletes competing in unfavourable climates.
Using an exploratory case study approach at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, this paper explores insider perspectives of four elite female participants competing in the Marathon. Adopting the “elite interviewing” technique, and based on event participant experiences, the paper prioritises the perspective and “voice” of the athlete.
Four key themes emerged from the data. These were (1) the importance of training and preparation; (2) unique challenges of competition day; (3) elite athlete retrospection; and (4) prioritising the perspectives of elite athletes at international sports events. The findings highlight the challenges of managing athlete preparation and performance at world championship events hosted in extreme climatic conditions.
The sample size for this study whilst relatively small is unique. This reflects challenges accessing elite athletes, their reluctance to be interviewed, and the small pool of elite athlete talent available. Given these practical barriers, this represents a good sample size.
This paper secures unique insider access to elite level female endurance athletes competing at world championship events. The study makes a contribution to knowledge in event studies by introducing concepts of “elite event interviewing” and the “athlete-event paradox”.
Zeiler, P. and Shipway, R. (2021), "Some like it hot? Elite female athlete perspectives on competing in extreme climatic conditions at world championship sports events", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 85-104. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEFM-08-2020-0045
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