Title: Does home location put young athletes under pressure?

Authors: Elsa Kristiansen; Martin Schnitzer; Barrie Houlihan

Addresses: University of South-Eastern Norway, Grønland 58, 3045 Drammen, Norway ' Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Fürstenweg 185, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria ' School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE113TU, UK; Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Postboks 4014 Ullevål Stadion, NO-0806, Oslo, Norway

Abstract: This paper examines how Norwegian (n = 5) and Austrian (n = 12) cyclists experienced the interaction with different stakeholders when participating at the UCI Road World Championship. Athletes were interviewed during and after the event in their respective home countries. In addition, informal interviews with coaches and journalists were conducted. Findings reveal that the young athletes perceived the media to be a stressor when adding the 'home location' to the event; this was particularly true for the Norwegian men. The massive attention, extra-curricular activities added by sponsors and the expectation of excelling 'at home', placed pressure on them. In contrast to the Norwegians, Austrian athletes were less stressed as the local organisers were more focused on promoting cycling tourism than on Austrian success in the competition. The findings contribute to the literature by: 1) emphasising the significance of the media as a stressor; 2) identifying the factors that determine the level of stress on young athletes; 3) finally, analysing the significance of home location for young athletes in the context of major sports events.

Keywords: event tourism; media stress; cycling events; athlete-journalist relationship; young athletes; sponsor demands; home location.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2021.118817

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2021 Vol.21 No.3/4, pp.226 - 244

Received: 20 Dec 2019
Accepted: 19 Jan 2021

Published online: 29 Oct 2021 *

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