National Pride Associated
with Olympic Athletes and Teams


Michael Naylor
Auckland University of Technology
Priscila Alfaro-Barrantes
Southern New Hampshire University
David P. Hedlund
St. John’s University
Sheila N. Nguyen
Deakin University
Joon Sung Lee
University of Michigan

ABSTRACT

The psychological connection between sport fans and teams has been examined thoroughly in sport management research – particularly in the context of professional and collegiate sport (e.g., Funk & James, 2006). Less is known about the connection that fans feel toward individual athletes and less still is known about fans’ connection to both teams and athletes in the context of the Olympic Games specifically. We explore the question of whether the psychological connections that individuals feel with national teams (including Olympic teams) are different from connections to individual athletes that represent their nation. A separate, but related question of interest is whether fans’ psychological connection to medal winners differs contingent on the type of the medal that has been won (i.e., gold, silver, bronze). One way to explore psychological connectedness in sport settings is to measure the manifest pride that individuals feel as a result of the accomplishments of Olympic athletes and teams. To our knowledge, no scholars have reported the results of empirical research which explored the pride that citizens of different countries feel in conjunction with Olympic medal winners. The following highlights the national pride component of a larger project examining psychological connectedness and international sport. We believe that the implications of an enhanced collective understanding of these phenomena in the context of the Olympic Games are noteworthy in the domains of both sport marketing and sport development.

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