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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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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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