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The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport
The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport

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Session 6: Spotlight – parenthood and sport


[At 35], my perspective on life had started to shift. I had different priorities. …Once the prospect of becoming a mother started to play on my mind, it grew to dominate my thoughts so much that I knew running would have to take a back seat for a while.

(Pavey, 2016, p. 146)
Jo Pavey celebrating with the Great Britain flag after a race .
Figure 1 Jo Pavey − 10,000m athletics World, European and Commonwealth medallist

So far in this course you have looked at several ‘within career’ transitions that most athletes will experience. In this session you will turn the spotlight to a transition that has become more commonplace in elite sport in recent years with more athletes striving to combine an athletic career with a family life. Even away from the sporting domain, parenthood represents one of the most significant transitional periods in a person’s life. However, when placed in the context of sport it can present several unique challenges.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • understand parenthood as a transition many athletes face
  • recognise the potential impact on an athlete of becoming a parent
  • identify how athletes successfully balance parenthood and a career in sport.