Experiences of Olympic Hopefuls of the Disruption of the Olympic Cycle at Tokyo 2020

Rocío Zamora-Solé*, Saül Alcaraz, Susana Regüela, Miquel Torregrossa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Lockdown due to COVID-19 and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games meant Olympic hopefuls experienced an uncertain and changing Olympic cycle. This paper describes the experiences of high-level and high-performance athletes amidst the disruption of the Olympic cycle caused by the concurrent non-normative transitions of coronavirus lockdown and the postponement of the Olympic Games. Twenty-five athletes (14 females and 11 males; age M = 26.2, SD = 6.99) were interviewed via videoconference during the eighth week of confinement. An inductive reflexive thematic analysis was carried out to organise the results into four thematic axes: (a) pre-confinement, (b) confinement, (c) post-confinement and (d) Tokyo 2020 + 1. The announcement of the postponement of the Olympic Games was recognised as a milestone that changed the lockdown experience, transforming the perception of lockdown as a threat into an opportunity. While the transitions were experienced in a variety of ways, the presence of sport identity psychological resources (i.e., frustration tolerance and resilience), the development of extra-sport identities (i.e., dual careers) and sport lifestyle (e.g., experiences at meets) are highlighted as facilitating factors in coping with and managing these concurrent transitions. The results obtained can help sports psychology professionals and others in the field to aid athletes in coping with the disruption of the Olympic cycle, as well as in coping with other unexpected situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalApunts. Educacion Fisica y Deportes
Issue number148
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • athlete
  • coronavirus
  • lockdown
  • non-normative transition
  • olympic games
  • qualitative methodology


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