USW sport researchers seek Olympians

Olympic medals.jpg

A research team at the University of South Wales (USW) is recruiting participants for a study investigating the impact of the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games on athletes and coaches who were hoping to compete.

With the aim of developing appropriate support, the team intends to interview athletes and coaches about their experiences during the pandemic and how these have impacted their mental health and mental ill-health.

Kristin McGinty-Minister

Kristin McGinty-Minister (pictured) has been appointed as the Senior Research Assistant on the project. She joins Professor David Shearer, Professor Brendan Cropley, and Dr Ross Hall.

Kristin said: “Discussions with our partners (Sport Wales, Welsh Institute for Performance Science: WIPS) indicates COVID-19 has created significant physical and emotional disruption for athletes and coaches, as well as long-term adversity for many Olympic/Paralympic sports.

“Olympic and Paralympic Games are career-defining competitions, with athletes and coaches working daily for a minimum of four years in pursuit athletic success. In some cases, athletes work towards future Games, meaning essential development will now be missed. Equally, for some, 2020 might have represented their last chance to ‘make it’ and secure financial stability for their future. Given such a significant disruption to their careers and livelihoods, it is crucial we first explore the potential negative impact on athletes’ and coaches’ mental health to understand the resources needed to assist when major sporting events are postponed or cancelled.”

Professor David Shearer, Professor in Elite Performance Psychology said “Athletes have a higher risk of developing mental health problems due to the multiple stressors they experience within their professional lives. However, in a recent International Olympic Committee consensus statement, it was highlighted there is a significant lack of rigorous research that explores the prevalence and management of athletes’ mental health. Further, our recent work shows there is a lack of research exploring how coaches’ mental health impacts their ability to function personally and professionally. Furthermore, the stressors experienced by athletes during this pandemic make them an ideal ‘test-bed’ to understand the needs of other potential clients performing under extreme stress (e.g., doctors, service personnel) who may also benefit from an online support platform.”


If you are interested in taking part in the study, please email [email protected]


Kristin McGinty-Minister, Professor David Shearer, and Professor Brendan Cropley belong to the Sport, Health and Exercise Science Research Centre.