Pathways to masters sport: Sharing stories from sport 'continuers', 'rekindlers' and 'late bloomers'

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Masters sport is growing in popularity in post industrial nations. In this chapter I draw from interview data on older athletes (over 75 years old) who regularly compete in individual sports, such as running, swimming, cycling and racquet sports (Dionigi, 2008). Approximately half of Masters participants are continuers of sport, while the other half consists of people who had played sport/were physically active in their youth and then (after a long break) returned to the sporting context to 'rekindle the flame' or those who were not 'sporty' and began competing in sport later in life (Dionigi et al., 2013). Among these athletes there is great diversity and complexity in individual pathways to Masters sport, as well as commonalities. Three broad themes cutting across the data are: a typology of pathways (sport 'continuers', 'rekindlers' and 'late bloomers'); the contingency of a Masters sport career, and; the embodiment of 'active ageing'. By locating these athletes' stories in the broader social and political contexts of their time, it is recognised that older people who invest in Masters sport are an exclusive and privileged group (on the basis of class, access, and/or ability) who do not represent the majority of older people living in Western countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical activity and sport in later life
Subtitle of host publicationcritical perspectives
EditorsE. Tulle, C. Phoenix
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781137429322
ISBN (Print)9781137429315, 9781349568826
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

Name Global culture and sport series


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