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Athletes' Experiences at the Youth Olympic Games: Perceptions, Stressors, and Discourse Paradox

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The purpose of this article was to understand young athletes' experiences at a youth sport festival, specifically the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). A mixed methods approach was used, comprising of qualitative and quantitative questionnaires with athletes from Canada and Norway, and observations during the 2012 Winter YOG in Innsbruck, Austria. In general, the young athletes had a positive experience, including the village environment, sport venues, travel, security, ceremonies, and medical services. They especially enjoyed the informal, international, sociocultural experiences. Food quality, accommodations, outdoor venue conditions, travel, security, and communications formed the main stressors according to the young athletes. Findings highlight the effect of the athletes' young age, country of origin, and Games inexperience on their experiences, perceptions, and stressors, as well as paradoxes surrounding the International Olympic Committee's YOG discourse and decisions.
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Keywords: ORGANIZATIONAL STRESSORS; SPORT EVENT MANAGEMENT; YOUNG ATHLETES; YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES (YOG)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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