Athlete activism, human rights, and the 2020 Olympic Games: a Twitter analysis of Raven Saunders' activism

Joerg Koenigstorfer*, Otto Kolbinger, David McGillivray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The study considers Raven Saunders’ protest at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (creating a X with raised arms on the podium of the medal award ceremony as a symbol of support for oppressed people, hereby violating the International Olympic Committee’s [IOC’s] Rule 50.2 Guidelines) and assesses Twitter users’ reactions. The authors used a single case study approach and applied the general inductive approach to analyse 3,460 tweets. About 28.7% (15.2%) of users responded positively (negatively) to the athlete’s activism. Discrete emotions often accompanied beliefs that relied on dispositional (but not situational) motive attributions, leading to favourable or unfavourable attitudes. About 48.1% made neutral posts. Important to event management, the IOC as the regulator of athlete’s freedom of speech was mostly perceived critically (i.e., the IOC should [1] rather listen, than speak; [2] prioritize better; [3] increase their competency, and [4] the IOC’s investigation is wrong), while some users demanded further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEvent Management
Early online date17 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • human rights
  • International Olympic Committee
  • Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • rule 50.2 guidelines
  • social media

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