The tales athletes tell: Narrative structure and identity in Great British medalists

Tristan J. Coulter, Clifford J. Mallett, Jefferson A. Singer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Using a life story approach, Hardy and colleagues present a study examining the similarities and differences in the psychosocial development of UK-based elite and super-elite athletes. We found this work to be a highly personal account into the lives of these cohorts, which advances knowledge concerning the psychology and influencing events and circumstances that separate the good from the great performers. We make some suggestions for how to enrich the study's findings and approach, by (1) adopting McAdams’ multilayer framework of personality, as an overarching structure for assessing the whole person, and (2) encouraging the authors to explore the narrative structure of the presented life stories and go beyond simply an interpretation of their content.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSport and the Brain
Subtitle of host publicationThe Science of Preparing, Enduring and Winning, Part A
EditorsVincent Walsh, Mark Wilson, Beth Parkin
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855


  • Athletes
  • Characteristic adaptations
  • Development
  • Dispositional traits
  • Elite
  • Narrative identity
  • Whole person


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