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Rune Dall Jensen, Ask Vest Christiansen and Kristoffer Henriksen


As a multi-sport event that only takes place every four years and is accompanied by intense media coverage, the Olympic Games are often described by athletes as a defining moment in their careers. The objectives of the present study were: 1) to describe differences in expectations of Olympic debutants towards the Olympics and their actual experiences while they were at the Games; and 2) to describe how the athletes negotiate the balance between performing at and enjoying the experience of the Olympic Games. Further, we will discuss the athletes' stories in light of the differences between the goals and expectations of the elite sport system and those of the individual athletes. Data was collected through a qualitative interview study with a pre- and post-Olympic competition design.

Using a semi-structured interview guide, we interviewed 14 Danish Olympic debutants about their Olympic goals and expectations within a month preceding their departure for the Olympic Games and about their actual experiences within a month following their return.

Condensed narratives from two Olympic debutants represent the spectrum of the athletes' expectations and experiences: one failed in his performance but had a great experience; the other was successful and won a silver medal but was truly unhappy with her experience. The debutants emphasize balancing their desire to perform with a desire for social experiences. They also discussed the challenges posed during preparation and goal setting.

Olympic debutants are caught in a very real dilemma between the Olympics as the “most important competition of their athletic careers” and “the Olympics as the experience of a lifetime.” This dilemma is linked to a wide rift between the perspectives and goals of the sport organization and those of the athletes.

Open access

Józef Patkiewicz

niepełnosprawnych. In: Migasiewicz J., Bolach E., Patkiewicz J. [ed.], Aktywność ruchowa osób niepełnosprawnych. Tom 2. TWK–Wrocław, Wrocław 2006, 11–15. [13] Płetwonurek KDP/CMAS*. Ogólnopolskie Centrum Szkolenia Podwodnego KDP PTTK, Warszawa 1999. [14] Rojek K., Podręcznik płetwonurka P1 KDP/CMAS. Ogólnopolskie Centrum Szkolenia Podwodnego KDP ZG PTTK, Warszawa 2013, 13–15. [15] Boyd J., Underwater magic: the most magical place on earth brings people with disabilities the experience of a lifetime. Sports ’n Spokes Magazine, 2004, 30 (3), 24–29. [16

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Dorota Groffik, Karel Frömel and Jana Pelclová

education's contribution to young people's physical activity levels. Health Education Research , 2005. 20(1), 14-23. Frömel K., Novosad J., & Svozil Z. Pohybová aktivita a sportovní zájmy mládeže. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého. 1999. Jackson A. W., Morrow J. R., Jr., Hill D. W., & Dishman R. K. Physical activity for health and fitness: An individualized lifetime approach. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics 1999. Lubans D. R., Morgan P. J., Callister R. & Collins C. Effects of integrating pedometers

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Krystyna Pawlas, Natalia Pawlas, Elżbieta Kmiecik-Małecka and Andrzej Małecki

., Pawlas K. Environmental lead exposure affects auditory pathway and brain electric activity in children. Eur. J. Neurol. 2005. 12, Suppl 2, 291. Poblano A., Rothenberg S. J., Schnaas L., Elias Y., Cruz M. L. Spatial distribution of EEG theta activity as a function of lifetime lead exposure in 9-year-old children. Neurotoxicology 2001. 22, 439-446. Polechoński J., Błaszczyk J. The effects of acoustic noise on postural sway of male and female subjects. J. Hum. Kinet. , 2006. 15, 37

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Felicja Lwow, Małgorzata Korzeniowska, Joanna Dadacz, Ewa Hladik, Agata Łukojko and Anna Denkowska

), 1270- -1275. [9] Wardlaw J.M., Smith E.E., Biessels G.J., Cordonnier C., Fazekas F., Frayne R. et al., Neuroimaging standards for research into small vessel disease and its contribution to ageing and neurodegeneration. Lancet Neurol., 2013, 12 (8), 822-838. [10] Wilkins J.T., Ning H., Berry J., Zhao L., Dyer A.R., Lloyd- -Jones D.M., Lifetime risk and years lived free of total cardiovascular disease. JAMA, 2012, 308 (17), 1795- -1801. [11] Shankar A., Hamer M., McMunn A., Steptoe A., Social isolation and loneliness

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Szczepan Kościółek

. (2013). Socio-environmental influences on physical activity among young people: A qualitative study. Health Education Research , 28, 954–969. Klein, T. (2009). Determinants of sport activity and sport in the lifetime. Kolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie , 61, 1–32. Lera-Lopez, F., & Rapun-Garate, M. (2005). Sports participation versus consumer expenditure on sport – Different determinants and strategies in sports management. European Sport Management Quarterly , 5(2), 167–186. Lera-Lopez, F., & Rapun-Garete, M. (2011

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Krzysztof Sas-Nowosielski

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Mariann Bardocz-Bencsik and Tamas Doczi

Publishing LLC. Levermore, R. & Beacom, A. (2012). Opportunities, limitations, questions. In R. Levermore & A. Beacom (Eds.), Sport and International Development (pp. 246–268). Basingtoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan UK. Mandela, N. (2000, May 25). Speech at the Inaugural Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award 2000 . Sporting Club Monte Carlo, Monaco. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from Right To Play. (2017, May 15). Our Beginning... [Home page]. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from http

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Brad W. Willis, Swithin Razu, Kelli Baggett, Amirhossein Jahandar, Aaron D. Gray, Marjorie Skubic, Seth L. Sherman, Kyle Blecha and Trent M. Guess

. 2010; 38(10):1968-1978; doi: 10.1177/0363546510376053. 10. Boling M, Padua D, Marshall S, Guskiewicz K, Pyne S, Beutler A. Gender differences in the incidence and prevalence of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010;20(5):725-730; doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838. 2009.00996.x. 11. Tenforde A, Sayres LC, McCurdy ML, Collado H, Sainani KL, Fredericson M. Overuse injuries in high school runners: lifetime prevalence and prevention strategies. PM & R. 2011;3(2):125-131; doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.09.009. 12

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Matthias Alexander Zingg, Mathias Wolfrum, Christoph Alexander Rüst, Thomas Rosemann, Romuald Lepers and Beat Knechtle

functional capacity: insight from swimming performance. J Appl Physiol, 1997, 82 (3), 846-851. 4. Berthelot G., Len S., Hellard P., Tafflet M., Guillaume M., Vollmer J.C. et al., Exponential growth combined with exponential decline explains lifetime performance evolution in individual and human species. Age (Dordr), 2012, 34 (4), 1001-1009, doi: 10.1007/s11357-011-9274-9. 5. Fairbrother J.T., Age-related changes in top-ten men’s U.S. Masters 50-m freestyle swim times as a function of finishing place. Percept Mot Skills, 2007, 105, (3f), 1289