Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

2007 Special Edition:
The Road to the Olympic Games – 2008

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         Within amateur sport, there are several types of international competitions. There are those that are sport specific, and they include multinational tournaments and in many sports, also world championships. There are also multi-sport (termed major games) tournaments such as (though not only) the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games, the Pan-American Games, and relevant to the present installment, the Olympics.

         For more than 20 years, sport psychology authors have considered the preparatory and psychological characteristics of successful major games athletes. One such example is the founding work of Terry Orlick and John Partington (1986) in their book “Psyched”. Therein, Orlick and Partington interviewed recent Canadian medal winners from the 1984 Olympics, and also a few successful world championship athletes from the same country. From their research, aspiring sport psychologists were provided with a gateway into the anecdotal pre-competition and competition strategies of successful international athletes. I personally embraced these tools, and tried to integrate them when working with many of the aspiring athletes I encountered earlier on in my tenure as a Canadian practitioner.

         More recently within Athletic Insight’s 2005 special edition (exactly two years ago) a few authors were asked to consider culturally diverse practice, and what it might offer to applied sport psychology. The agenda was to extend the sport psychology discourse and make a place for relevant strategies by culture. The authors were asked to consider ethnicity, gender, social class, and race. With the early effort amongst others, the discussion now referred to in the literature as cultural sport psychology (CSP) has gained traction. As part of recent CSP discussions, there seems to be a growing interest in service provision for aspiring athletes (and also those who work with them).

         With the present installment again, the discussion of culture is being considered, though only in terms of nationality / regions. Following, you will find submissions from Doctors Ken Hodge and Gary Hermansson (University of Auckland, New Zealand), Doctors Ronnie Lidor and Boris Blumenstein (Wingate Institute, Israel), Dr. Shaun Galloway (Wolverhampton University, United Kingdom), and Peter Haberl (United States Olympic Committee). Each submission will showcase a few of the strategies that these international contributors employ while working with athletes and coaches from their respective countries leading up to the 2008 Olympic Games. In place of the retrospective responses sometimes featured in the literature, the contributors in this installment were asked to describe what they are currently doing as consultants with one of their national teams or a few athletes before they actually perform in Beijing. Completing the installment, Timothy Baghurst (University of Arkansas) has reviewed a book for us, the first such submission within AI.

         We hope you enjoy this future-minded installment, and the staff of Athletic Insight wish you well as we transition toward 2008.

Robert Schinke, Ed.D, CSPA
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ISSN 1536-0431