Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 20

A narrative inquiry of female athletes experiences of retirement from elite sport: Stories of eating disorders, bullying, competition and

(work in progress)

Andreea Mohora
PhD Candidate Athlete Health Womens Health Research Lab

Committee members: Dr. Lasiuk, G., Dr. Norris, C., Dr. Markula, P.

My story
High performance basketball player Narrow focus Intense training Difficult retirement

Research questions
How do elite female athletes story their athletic career and retirement experiences? How does retirement from elite sport change womens life stories? What supported/hindered their transition out of sport? How did they create new meanings and re-story their life?

Health Fitness

Happiness Psychological, social skills Values, character, stamina

High performance/elite sport

Specific and focused Long and intense training regime

Other activities and events are traded off

Development of athletic identity Performance excellence vs. personal development

Countless tiny fracture lines covering all his teeth. Wear a mouthguard or youll lose them, had been his dentists advice. A mouthguard? Forget it. Hed worry about his teeth when he retired. As Digger falls off to sleep, he sees himself in Sydney on the middle podium [...] Everyone seeing him as Champion. Cracked teeth, broken nose, swollen ears, slight nerve damage to his neck but Olympic Champion. (Abdou, 2007, p. 67)

Jerry Seinfeld on Winning & Losing

Silver medalists

Reasons: maturation, age, injury, etc.
Void Loss of identity Physical changes Loss of social support and network Lack of other skills Psychological challenges

Ive discovered that doing for others is much more fulfilling than standing alone on a podium while crowds cheer your individual accomplishments. Im part of a bigger plan now, and joining hands with people from around the globe who understand that giving and sharing can change the world is exactly where I choose to be. (Comaneci, 1997, p. 177)

Narrative inquiry approach (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000)
Well suited for exploring personal experiences and understanding individual meaning making processes Has an interest in personal stories, as narrated by those who experience them Is based on Deweys theory of experience

Snowball sample: 6-10 retired female athletes
> 18 years of age, English-speaking Competed at national or international level (excluding Olympic or varsity athletes) > 2 years into their retirement

Open ended interviews

Contribute with personal items Creative analytical practice approach Ethical approval HREB at U of A

Emerging Themes
PRIDE in being an/the athlete
[... Sport ...] was everything for me. I was so proud because I knew I was good at it. But then, when it was over, I had nothing. I was so lost. It was freedom to run and jump, to be away from home, to go dancing with the team during the nights away, or to have excuses to miss school once in a while. I was THE athlete in the class. I was a basketball player and nothing else mattered. Life was sport and sport was life. Basketball meant everything, so my days were scheduled around practices, games, and training camps. And I loved that life!

Emerging Themes
Sport as an ESCAPE
I was bullied at school so [... sport..] was my escape. I liked being with my team more, because at school my class mates would make fun of me because I was tall and had muscles. I was not fitting with the petite and delicate girls.

Emerging Themes
Sport-specific BODY TYPE:
Being a team sport, we all needed to look the same, to have the same thigh size. We all wanted to be thin to help the performance. My coaches wanted tall and big girls to get the ball. So within the team I was one of the smaller girls while at school I was among the bigger girls. I was never just right, so I always wanted to look different, depending on where I was.

Emerging Themes
Eating disorders .. oh, yeah, they were rampant. You were good if you could suck it up and do it. Coaches knew about them but they did not care, they only cared about the performance. You cannot control your weight? What is wrong with you?

Emerging Themes
After .. I had nothing. I only wanted to be normal, just like the other people, but I couldnt. I was very depressed, I did not know what to do with myself. I could not even talk about it and no one understood.

Potential Contributions
Deeper understanding of elite female athletes experience of the retirement process and their life after retirement Identify factors that help and hinder elite female athletes as they adjust to life-after-sport Beneficial for coaches, health professionals, and families, pointing a way to better support the athletes May identify avenues for future research

My new meaning ...