Authenticity – a major concern in sports

Johan Carlsson
Dept. of Sport Sciences, Malmö University

The purpose of this article is to investigate why and how authenticity can be studied in sports, by summarizing the author’s Master’s thesis “A sweaty quest for authenticity – an analysis of five autobiographies written by five Swedish athletes” as one example. The article starts by stating the importance of understanding the quest for authenticity in life generally and in sport specifically, before moving on to previous research in the field. The theoretical framework for the analysis of the autobiographies is subjective and existential authenticity. Focus is on the being in ourselves and the being in relation to the physical and social surroundings, places and other people.

Two main themes were found: “The authentic athlete” and “The authentic training place”. Authenticity is a complex theoretical concept because it can be applied both in sports people’s quest for authenticity and for the authenticity of sport in and of itself. Future research could study these different forms more systematically.

Download a full-text version of the article here!

JOHAN CARLSSON is a Master’s student in Sport Sciences at Malmö University, Sweden. He is 36 years old and has previously worked as a journalist at a local newspaper. His biggest interest in sports is tennis, and he is thoroughly excited that both Federer and Nadal are back on magical track in 2017.


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