Across the pond: an exploration of the American collegiate system as a pathway for elite British female gymnasts

George H. Franklin, Daniel J. Brown, Emma Vickers, Grace E. Harrison

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Abstract

The number of elite athletes from the United Kingdom choosing to migrate to the United States of America is increasing. Grounded in the push-pull framework, this was the first study to exclusively explore the motivations and experiences of elite British female gymnasts who migrated to American universities and competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with seven former gymnasts and analysed using thematic analysis. The results document how this pathway provided gymnasts with an opportunity to extend their career in a positive environment, escaping the intense and autocratic culture that dominated gymnastics in Britain. Moreover, this pathway facilitated lasting athletic and personal development including enhanced retirement from the sport. From a practice standpoint, it appears important that gymnasts are educated about the pathways available to them and that British sport organisations are supported in re-shaping their environments to create more desirable and sustainable systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalThe Sport Psychologist
Volume37
Issue number1
Early online date7 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • athlete development
  • cultural transitions
  • gymnastics
  • international student-athlete
  • sport migration

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