Archive for Vol. 13, 2022

Reflections from CrossFitters on the themes of body and community

by Arild Boge, Ove Olsen Sæle, & Hilde Stokvold Gundersen

Vol. 13 2022, pages 85–110
Published June 9, 2022


CrossFit is a form of training and competition that has boomed in recent years. It is part of a fitness culture with a strong focus on the body and appearance, a trend that has become prevalent in today’s society. This study closely examined the reflections of CrossFitters based on the following research question: What are the reflections of a selection of CrossFitters with regard to body ideals, body-image pressure and community? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a selection of participants (five women and five men) who train at a CrossFit centre in Norway. A qualitative, theory-based content analysis was used whereby the theory dictated the categorisation into the following main categories: body pressure, body ideals and community. Our results showed that the participants primarily associate the body with functionality, health and athletic performance. Several of the participants openly acknowledge that they desire a fit body, but that this is not the most important goal, merely a possible side effect of the training. The participants appear to be highly dedicated to the CrossFit culture, which is perceived as being an identity marker for performance development, training satisfaction and solidarity. The conclusion of the study is that the unique training form and architectural design of CrossFit, as well as the possibility to participate regardless of body size, shape or skill level within a committed and supportive community, appear to contribute to little body-image pressure and less focus on the ideal body.

Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 13, 2022

About the authors

ARILD BOGE was an Assistant Professor at the Sports Section at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway. Teacher, college lecturer and section leader in Physical Education within kindergarten education, primary school education and Sports basic subjects. Research project addressing crossfit / functional fitness as a form of exercise and activity. The article is published post mortem for Arild Boge.

OVE OLSEN SÆLE is a Professor at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, campus Bergen. His interests focus on educational, ethical and philosophical discussions related to Sport and to Physical Education in school and kindergarten.

HILDE STOKVOLD GUNDERSEN is an Associate Professor at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, campus Bergen. She has a PhD in neuroscience. Her research is mainly related to talent development in sports and to the connection between physical activity and cognitive function.



“Mission impossible”? How a successful female cross-country skier managed a dual career as a professional athlete and medical student: A case study

by Max Bergström, Guro Strøm Solli, Øyvind Sandbakk
& Stig Arve Sæther

Vol. 13 2022, pages 57–83
Published March 21, 2022


The aim of the present case study is to illuminate the factors contributing to the initiation, maintenance and discontinuation of the dual career of a Norwegian world-class athlete and medical student. We additionally aimed to highlight contextual factors facilitating and impeding the dual career development. The participant Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen was a Norwegian student-athlete in the 2005–2020 period when she concurrently achieved 10 FIS World Championship medals, one Olympic medal, and 43 World Cup podiums in cross-country skiing. Day-to-day training diary data, study load and progress, performance, and interviews were analysed. In most years, the participant’s annual training volume was c. 800–900 hrs/year. No significant differences in athletic performance were seen between the years with full-time studies, part-time studies, and study breaks. The participant Jacobsen experienced conflicting schedules and a lack of dual career support from stakeholders as the major challenges. Hence, the present single-case study provides unique data on the process and management of a dual career.

Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 13, 2022

About the authors

MAX BERGSTRÖM works as a research assistant in the project “The female athlete” at the Swedish Winter Sport Research Centre (NVC) and Mid Sweden University (MIUN). His previous research has been focused on lifelong participation in sport (LLP) and communication barriers between female athletes and their coaches related to the menstruation cycle. Bergström has continued his research on the topic Dual Careers (DC) and is currently working with a study about mother-athletes in Scandinavian cross-country skiing.

GURO STRØM SOLLI is associate professor of sport science at the Faculty of Education and Art at Nord University. Her primary research field is performance development in endurance sports with a special focus on cross-country skiing. Solli is the leader of the research group Performance development in cross-country skiing and biathlon (PULS) at Nord University’s campus in Meråker.

ØYVIND SANDBAKK is professor at the Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and director of the Centre for Elite Sports Research. His research aims to improve the understanding of sport performance, among other things by investigating integrative physiology and biomechanics, the effects of strength and endurance training, as well as the utilization of new technology to gain further understanding of these aspects in real-life environments.

STIG ARVE SÆTHER is an associate professor in sport science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Sociology and Political science. Main research interests are talent development, youth sport and sport psychology. His largest research project is a longitudinal 10-year follow-up study. Sæther is head of the research group Skill and Performance Development in Sport and School, head of the sports science staff, and head of education at Department of Sociology and Political science.


Characteristics of voluntary sports clubs with targeted initiatives for underrepresented population groups: The role of organisational goals, resources, structure and context

by Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, Svenja Feiler, Christoph Breuer, Jenny Adler Zwahlen & Siegfried Nagel

Vol. 13 2022, pages 29–55
Published March 6, 2022


Even though voluntary sports clubs are expected to play an important role in accomplishing the political goal to deliver ‘sport for all’, a number of population groups remain underrepresented in organised sport. Considering this, the aim of this article is to identify organisational characteristics of sports clubs that work strategically to integrate underrepresented population groups by offering targeted initiatives. Logistic regression analyses were conducted using survey data from more than 30,000 sports clubs in nine European countries. Factors within all the four included aspects of organisational characteristics (goals, resources, structure and context) were found to be relevant for the implementation of targeted initiatives. The results also revealed that it was mainly the same factors that were significantly correlated with the propensity of clubs to offer targeted initiatives across all three examined population groups: people with disabilities, people with a migration or ethnic minority background, and people on a low income. In particular, the existence of integration-related goals and service-oriented goals regarding long-term planning (organisational goals) as well as paid staff and paid management (organisational resources) were positively correlated with the presence of targeted initiatives. Regarding organisational characteristics and context, large, young, multisport clubs located in an urban setting were found to be more inclined to offer targeted initiatives. Having identified a number of club-related factors relevant for the presence of targeted initiatives, our study can inform policy implementation that seek to increase participation of underrepresented population groups in organised sport.

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About the authors

KARSTEN ELMOSE-ØSTERLUND is an Associate Professor in sports sociology at the University of Southern Denmark. He has a master’s degree in sports science and political science. Karsten’s primary research topics include sports participation and movement habits; the organisation of sport, including sports clubs; and social integration in sport. He was the project leader for the European research project ‘Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sports Clubs in Europe’ from which this article originates.

SVENJA FEILER is a researcher at the Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management at the German Sport University Cologne. She holds a diploma degree in Business Administration and a Master degree in Sport Management (M.Sc.). She is responsible for managing a large-scale panel study on nonprofit sports clubs in Germany, the Sport Development Report. Her main research interests are nonprofit sports organizations, nonprofit sports clubs’ finances, and sport development.

CHRISTOPH BREUER is a Full Professor in sport management at the German Sport University Cologne. He has a master’s degree in sports science, economics and pedagogy. Christoph’s primary research topics include organisation and finance of sport, including sports clubs. He is the project leader for the German Sport Development Report and founding member of the European Sports Economics Association.

JENNY ADLER ZWAHLEN is research assistant at the Special Department for Integration and Prevention of the Federal Office for Sport in Magglingen (Switzerland). She did her doctorate on the topic of ‘Social integration of people with migration background in organized sports’ at the Institute of Sport Science at the University of Bern. During this time, she has been involved in the project ‘Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sports Clubs in Europe’.

SIEGFRIED NAGEL is a Full Professor at the University of Bern and Director of the Institute of Sport Science. His main fields of interest are sport organisation research, particularly in sports clubs and federations, as well as sport participation research. He is the leader of several research projects in sport sociology and sport management that mainly focus on social integration in organised sport, sport club development, volunteering and professionalisation.


‘I’m a woman who can kick ass!’ Practices, meanings, and corporeality in female gym-goers

by Aexis Sossa Rojas

Vol. 13 2022, pages 1–27
Published February 1, 2022


The purpose of this article is to understand how frequent female gym-goers work out in different gyms in Amsterdam, how they understand and live their bodies, and what working on their bodies means to them. Based on a qualitative study, data were collected from twelve months of fieldwork with eight women from different nationalities. My findings contribute to the work of Physical Cultural Studies by arguing how gym-going for these women form a complex and diverse cultural practice through which both personal and bodily experiences, meanings, and subjectivities become dialectically connected to, and negotiated through, broader socio-cultural contingencies, where gender stereotypes are not only reproduced but, at the same time, are also negotiated and subverted. The women in this article help us to understand that they are not necessarily victims of social pressures, nor are they in search of the perfect body since their adherence to training can also re-enact a space of agency and empowerment. Gym-going for them is not necessary liberating nor oppressive. It is related to the social context and to the individual’s awareness of their agency in negotiating their actions and perceptions at the gym.

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About the Author

ALEXIS SOSSA is a fellow researcher at the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA), hosted by the University of Amsterdam. In 2021 he received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His PhD dissertation focuses on gym culture and embodiment. Alexis is a sociologist with expertise in qualitative studies. His research interests concern the development of interpretive sociological/anthropological understandings of the body–self–society relationship in different fields, but mainly of sport and physical culture.