‘One door closes, a next door opens up somewhere’: The learning of one Olympic synchronised swimmer

Barker-Ruchti, Natalie, Barker, Dean, Rynne, Steven and Lee, Jessica (2012) ‘One door closes, a next door opens up somewhere’: The learning of one Olympic synchronised swimmer. Reflective Practice, 13 3: 373-385. doi:10.1080/14623943.2012.670107

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Author Barker-Ruchti, Natalie
Barker, Dean
Rynne, Steven
Lee, Jessica
Title ‘One door closes, a next door opens up somewhere’: The learning of one Olympic synchronised swimmer
Journal name Reflective Practice   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1462-3943
Publication date 2012-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/14623943.2012.670107
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 13
Issue 3
Start page 373
End page 385
Total pages 13
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Although training in sport is necessary to reach Olympic status, a conditioned body is not the only outcome. Athletes also learn how to be Olympians. This learning involves taking on certain ways of acting, thinking and valuing. Such learning has implications beyond competition, as athletes eventually retire from elite sport and devote their time to other activities. This paper examines processes of learning and transition using the case of Amelia, a former Olympic synchronised swimmer. Through two in-depth interviews, empirical material was generated which focused on the learning that took place during this athlete’s career and after, during her transition to paid employment. A cultural view of learning was used as the theoretical frame to understand the athlete’s experiences. Our reading suggests that the athlete learned in various ways to be productive. Some of these ways of being were useful after retirement; others were less compatible. In fact, Amelia used a two-year period after retirement to reconstruct herself. Key to her eventual successful transition was to distance herself from the sport and to critically reflect upon her sporting experiences. We thus recommend that those involved with high-performance athletes foster a more balanced perspective that acknowledges and promotes ways of being beyond athletic involvement.
Keyword Olympic athletes
Cultural learning
Communities of practice
Identity reconstruction
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: Coaching for Performance: Realising the Olympic Dream

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Created: Sun, 08 Jul 2012, 21:55:22 EST by Deborah Noon on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences