‘I just hope people can forgive me’: Australian women athletes, apologies and image restoration at the Rio Olympic Games

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Prior to the 2016 Olympic Games, Australia’s Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller predicted that the Australian team could win as many as 16 Olympic gold medals. Australia’s Olympic team won a total of eight gold medals and the sports media reacted by suggesting the team had ‘failed’. At the 2016 Olympic Games, three high-profile Australian female athletes apologised to the Australian public for their performances. This study examines these three interconnecting cases and how such behaviour is linked to research that examines sports media and gender (including female agency), ‘image restoration’ and third-wave feminism. Additionally, this work identifies how the culture of third-wave feminism is conceptually troubled by the notion of the ‘female apologetic’ and calls for a re-examination and modification of such a notion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-423
Number of pages13
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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