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Title: Understanding the meanings created around the aging body and sports by masters athletes through media data
Authors: Oghene, Patrick Odirin
Keywords: Aging;Older adults;Later life;Masters athletes
Issue Date: 10-Oct-2013
Publisher: Laurentian University of Sudbury
Abstract: There is literature based on masters athletes and their involvement in sports at the later stages of life. Masters athletes are exercise-trained individuals who compete in athletic events at a high level well beyond a typical retirement age (Tanaka & Seals, 2008). These athletes vary widely in age but are typically older than 35 years, with many more over the ages of 50 and well into old age. The research questions guiding this study included; (a) what are the media representation of masters athletes, and how are they used to generate meanings around aging, sports and the aging body and (b) what are the implications of these meanings on how the aging body is represented to the audience. A qualitative (i.e., case study) approach was used to explore what meanings were generated around aging and sports through media narratives in relation to aging successfully. Media data in the form of sports magazines (i.e., Runner’s World and Lexis-Nexis data base) were compiled for the data analysis. This research focused specifically on two cases, 81year old Ed Whitlock, a Canadian long distance marathon runner, and 77 year-old Jeanne Daprano, an American masters track and field athlete. The data included (n=41 Ed Whitlock, n= 17 Jeanne Daprano). The data were analyzed via an inductive thematic analysis (see Braun & Clarke, 2006). The following central themes emerged a) life-long involvement in sports (higher order themes: earlier sporting experience, triumphant return, uninterrupted engagement), (b) performance narratives (serious contenders, reasoning for performance, systematic training, an individualized approach), and (c) decline narratives (resistance to declines in old age, sports related injuries, maintenance of performance). This study highlights how both athletes were depicted in the media narratives, demonstrating that their involvement in sports in later life provided an alternate way to view the aging process. The findings from this study seek to extend the understanding of masters athletes, by contextualization how they challenge some of the decline narratives associated with old age.
Appears in Collections:Human Kinetics - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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