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The Long and Winding Road: An Autobiographic Study of an Elite Athlete Mother’s Journey to Winning Gold

McGannon, KR, Tatarnic, E and McMahon, J ORCID: 0000-0002-1079-8939 2018 , 'The Long and Winding Road: An Autobiographic Study of an Elite Athlete Mother’s Journey to Winning Gold' , Journal of Applied Sport Psychology , pp. 1-20 , doi:

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Within sport psychology, researchers have explored elite athlete mothers’ experiences.More work is needed to understand the nuanced psychosocial aspects of their athletic journeys. Studying autobiographical narratives is useful toward understanding the psychosocialnuances of motherhood and athletics in sociocultural context. Within the present study wesought to extend this understanding through studying one elite athlete’s—British runner JoPavey—journey as an athlete mother within her autobiography This Mum Runs (26 chapterstotaling 253 pages). Thematic narrative analysis of key chapters focusing on pregnancy andmotherhood in relation to training and competition allowed for the identification of a centraltheme—discovery narrative–reconfiguring the performance narrative—along with two subthemes: go with the flow and best of both worlds. The subthemes are used to illustrate thenavigation of tensions in relation to an athlete mother identity grounded in family relationships to facilitate training and competition goals, within a discovery narrative. Applied sportpsychology recommendations are made using narrative theory in relation to key findings.Recommendations focused on athlete stories and narrative resources as concrete entry pointsto encourage compatible athlete mother identities and sport career engagement. This studyadds to sport psychology work that has used autobiography as theoretical, analytical, andapplied resources to expand understanding of marginalized and/or hard to access topics inelite sport. This is the first autobiographic study to focus on elite athlete mother identities,furthering understanding of nuanced identity negotiation and experiences over time

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:McGannon, KR and Tatarnic, E and McMahon, J
Keywords: Athlete mothers; Autobiographies, sport psychology; educating athlete mothers
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
ISSN: 1041-3200
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Association for Applied Sport Psychology

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