Athlete activism: advancing socio-political causes at mega sporting events




Athlete Activism, Self-Presentation, Persona, Mediatisation, Intercommunication


Highly mediated, mega-sporting events provide opportunities for elite athletes to use their prominent status to elicit social change. However, with expectations and policies in place to regulate behaviour that prevents athletes from making political statements, athlete activists face risks. An examination of the 2018 Commonwealth Games highlighted two athletes who used their personal reputation whilst at this highly mediated global sporting event to raise the visibility of societal issues. Through the lens of persona studies, this research examined how these athlete celebrities crafted individualised narratives through internetworked platforms of new and traditional media to demonstrate forms of athlete citizenship. This research illustrates how athletes can become co-creators of the social cause narrative, demonstrating how valuable athletes can be in amplifying the core values of major sporting events by reinforcing a fluid form of intercommunication.


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Author Biography

  • Sharyn McDonald, Deakin University

    Dr Sharyn McDonald
    Honorary Fellow
    School of Communication & Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts & Education
    Deakin University


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How to Cite

Athlete activism: advancing socio-political causes at mega sporting events. (2023). Persona Studies, 9(3), 1-20.