The roar of the home crowd at the London 2012 Games is
helping to spur athletes on - but also causing some members of Team
GB to feel the need to apologise.
Sports Psychologist at the University of
Wolverhampton, Professor Andy Lane, says the most consistent
performer across all events is the supportiveness of the home crowd
at the Olympics – and this is leading to some extreme emotions
Gold medal winners such as Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Andy
Murray have thanked the crowd for their overwhelming support, while
those achieving bronze or silver, such as rowing pair Mark Hunter
and Zac Purchase, have apologised for not clinching the top spot on
the podium in their post-event interviews.
But what is the psychology behind this? Professor Lane, from the
University’s School of Sport, Performing
Arts and Leisure, says that it could be that the volume and
support of the crowd emphasises the importance of the event.
Professor Lane says: “We are experiencing some remarkable
performances at the London Olympics. The consistent performer
across all events is the supportiveness of the crowd.
“The British are notorious for good fans; our soccer fans travel
across the world supporting country and clubs; the cricket barmy
army, and so on.
“What we have seen at London 2012 is how loud and supportive
they can be when we achieve success.
“Comments from athletes at London are also consistent with this
idea; on one hand, gold medal winning athletes thank the crowd;
athletes achieving less than a gold, silver in some cases,
apologise. We have seen athletes provide sincere and heart
wrenching apologies for not achieving gold.
“One possible reason is that the crowd emphasise the importance
of the event; if there was any doubt, the volume of crowd noise
acts as a reminder to soul search for extra effort to get more out
of yourself; in short, an athlete’s self-worth could be tied
exclusively to performance in the Games.
“When self-belief is so polarised, winning will lead to
exhilaration, and defeat to desolation.
“The second possible reason is that athletes feel that winning a
gold medal is akin to delivering a Christmas present for your
child, and in a way, the athlete feels he or she has let the child
And what could be the effect of the roar of the crowd as we
continue into the second week of competition?
“I think we can expect more highly energised performance;
athletes are giving their all and as a consequence, we can expect
to see extreme emotions depending on the result.”
For media inquiries please contact Vickie Warren in the
Media Relations Office on 01902 322736.
Lane is a Professor of Sport Psychology at the
University of Wolverhampton. He is accredited from the British
Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) for scientific
support and research and Chartered Psychologist with the British
Psychological Society. He has authored more than 100 peer refereed
journal articles and edited two books.
Date Issued: Monday, 6 August 2012
University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY
Course enquiries: 0800 953 3222, General enquiries: 01902 321000 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Freedom of Information | Disclaimer and copyright | The University as a charity | Cookies Policy