Skip to main content

Great British medalists: Psychosocial biographies of super-elite and elite athletes from Olympic sports.

Hardy, L., Barlow, M., Evans, L., Rees, T., Woodman, T. and Warr, C., 2017. Great British medalists: Psychosocial biographies of super-elite and elite athletes from Olympic sports. In: Walsh, V., Wilson, M. and Parkin, B., eds. Sport and the Brain: The Science of Preparing, Enduring and Winning, Part A. Progress in Brain Research 232, 1-119.

Full text available as:

[img] PDF
Hardy et al GBM (2017) original submitted manuscript re-edited with changes accepted correct version.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


DOI: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2017.03.004


Participants were 32 former GB athletes from Olympic sports, 16 Super-Elite athletes who had won multiple medals at major championships, and 16 matched Elite athletes who had not. In-depth interviews with the athletes, their coaches, and one of their parents explored all psychosocial aspects of their development and careers. Content analyses revealed that there were no differences between Super-Elite and Elite athletes with regard to family values, conscientiousness, or commitment to training. However, the two groups were found to be different with regard to: 1) the experience of a foundational negative life event coupled with a foundational positive sport related event; 2) the experience of a career turning point that enhanced motivation and focus for their sport; 3) need for success; 4) obsessiveness and/or perfectionism with regard to training and performance; 5) ruthlessness and/or selfishness in the pursuit of their sporting goals; 6) dual focus on both mastery and outcome; and 7) the use of counterphobic attitudes and/or total preparation to maintain higher levels of performance under pressure; 8) the relative importance of sport over other aspects of life. The results are discussed within the context of psychodynamic theory, and recommendations are made for both applied implications and future research.

Item Type:Book Section
Series Name:Progress in Brain Research
Number of Pages:220
Uncontrolled Keywords:elite; super-elite; athletes; development; biographies
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:26874
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:06 Feb 2017 10:55
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:02


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -