ABSTRACT

In seeking to understand Olympic tourists and their behaviour, the following discussions aim to utilize perspectives from sport, tourism and sports tourism research to explore how sports tourists behaviours are derived from the ways in which people interact with activity and place. An important aspect of this interaction is that of motivation. Both sport and tourism as separate activities involve a complex set of motivations and a considerable literature exists which reflects this. Reeves (2000) reviews the motivational literature relating to both sports participation and tourism and there is much evidence in this review that the motivations of both sports participants and tourists share a number of common traits which may offer some insights into the uniqueness of the sports tourist. According to Reeves (2000:29) it is the socio-psychological rationales that dominate the sports motivation literature and it is this perspective that ‘most closely mirrors that body of literature which attempts to explain reasons for individual engagement in tourism activity’ (general reviews of tourism motivation literature can be found in Ryan (2002) and Shaw and Williams (2002)). The discussions of motivations in this section are ‘foundational’ to the more specific discussions of Olympic tourism towards the end of this chapter and later in the text. Consequently, they are inevitably more generic discussions of sport, tourism and sports tourism. People’s motives for participating in sport are many and

varied. Such activities may be shared (common) as well as unique to the individual and they are also dynamic in that they change over time. Such motivation embraces both psychological, social and philosophical perspectives. A significant amount of research on the motives behind sports participation involves the individual’s characteristics – interests, needs, goals and personality (Weinberg and Gould, 1995) and is also linked to similar work on the social-psychology of leisure (e.g., Mannel and Kleiber, 1997; Neulinger, 1991). There are clearly motives which are more specifically identified with sport (rather than tourism) such as competitiveness, a desire to win, the testing of one’s abilities and the development of skills and competencies, especially amongst

more elite participants. However, many others might also be claimed by tourism. This can be seen quite clearly in the classification system

of the various travel motivators developed by McIntosh and Goeldner (1986) from a review of existing tourism motivation studies. Weed and Bull (2004) argued that three of their four categories of tourist motivation – physical, interpersonal, and status and prestige motivators – also have immediate relevance to sport. However, given the significant cultural importance of the Olympic Games, McIntosh and Goeldner’s (1986) fourth category, cultural motivators, is also relevant in a consideration of Olympic tourists. The physical motivators include those concerned with refreshment of body and mind, health purposes and pleasure; interpersonal ones include a desire to meet people, visit friends or relatives, and to seek new and different experiences as well as the need to escape from routine experiences; cultural motivators include a desire to know more about other cultures and lifestyles; and, status and prestige motivators include personal development and ego enhancement. In attempting to consider these motivations in relation to the interaction of activity people and place, it seems quite clear that the physical motivators are related to activity and the interpersonal motivators to people. Cultural motivators can relate to aspects of all three, with views on places often being cultural appraisals, whilst activities and people each transmit cultural elements and symbols. Status and prestige motivators, however, appear to be related to the more holistic interaction of these three factors. As such, the discussion that follows will examine these four motivators in turn before discussing how a consideration of arousal theory and the concept of ritual inversion might both account for the importance of place, and link the areas together in understanding the unique attraction of the ‘interactive experience’ of sports tourism. Several writers highlight the quest for health, fitness and

general well-being (both psychological and physiological) as important motivations for sport (Astrand, 1978, 1987; Gratton and Taylor, 1985; Long, 1990). In sport these include such objectives as ‘weight control, physical appearance and generally maintaining the body in a good physical state in order to maximize the life experience’ (Reeves, 2000:35). In tourism, the emphasis is more concerned with relaxation and recuperation, giving the ‘batteries an opportunity to recharge’ (Cohen, 1983; Crompton, 1979; Mathieson and Wall, 1989). Such health benefits are also inevitably linked to the idea of

enjoyment, pleasure satisfaction and excitement – positive affective experiences which some, dating back to the work of Sigmund

Freud, collectively refer to as the ‘pleasure principle’, a feeling of well-being (Reeves, 2000) which has, in some cases, been related to physiological responses to exercise and excitement (Sonstroem, 1982; Sonstroem and Morgan, 1989; Williams, 1994). These have been claimed as important motives underpinning sports participation but they are equally relevant to tourism (Robinson, 1976; Urry, 2001). As such, ‘vicarious’ participation in tourism or sports tourism activities, where activities and things are experienced through others, are relevant here. More specifically, the excitement generated in spectators by performances in the ‘theatre’ of the Olympic Games can be important, but also the vicarious participation in Games of the past through Olympic-related museums or visitor attractions should be considered. In addition to the associated physical and psychological benefits they provide, some writers have also offered philosophical rationales to explain people’s desire for pleasure in terms of a desire for a ‘good life’ (Kretchmarr, 1994). Sport, for example, may be perceived as an important component within a particular lifestyle and, furthermore, may also mirror developments in contemporary society and be used by individuals as a means of escaping from the pressures of everyday life. Both these motives are equally important elements within the tourism motivation literature. Holidays are now regarded as an essential component of modern lifestyles, with people prepared to forego other items rather than their annual holiday (Ryan, 2002). In addition, the sense of escapism is also seen as an important influence on tourism behaviour (Iso-Ahola, 1989; Leiper, 1984). In fact, Urry (1990:12) explicitly links the pleasure principle to escapism suggesting that tourists ‘must experience particularly distinct pleasures which involve different senses or are on a different scale from those typically encountered in everyday life’. Clearly, this is of obvious relevance for Olympic tourists. In relation to interpersonal motives, a particular strong motive

for playing sport is a sense of affiliation, involving the need to belong to a team, group, club or society in general. Carron and Hausenblaus (1998) utilize theories of group cohesion to identify two main reasons to explain this need: involvement for predominantly social reasons and the subsequent satisfaction and pleasure derived from that social interaction and for task reasons, i.e., enjoyment of working with other members of the team in common pursuit of the task completion. While the latter motive may not have immediate resonance with tourism (although it would be applicable to various forms of special interest tourism such as conservation holidays) the social interaction motive involving meeting new people, visiting friends and relatives and spiritual pilgrimage is clearly relevant and is identified

in the literature on tourism motivation. Several studies in fact refer to tourists as modern day pilgrims (Graburn, 1989; Hetherington, 1996; Urry, 2001) with most tourism involving people travelling in groups of one sort or other. Vicarious participation as part of a crowd at sports events is also an interpersonal motivator, and for some, trips to a major sports event such as the Olympic Games may be akin to pilgrimage. Of course, vicarious interaction need not be immediate, as people may make ‘pilgrimages’ to sites of previous Olympic Games, to the Olympic museum at Lausanne, or to ancient Olympia in Greece. In this case, the interpersonal interaction is virtual, as people make ‘imagined journeys’ (Gammon, 2002) to interact with the people and activities that are related to the site. Family bonds can also be an important part of interpersonal motivation, with parents taking their children to sporting events or sites and using the trip to reinforce family relationships around a shared interest, be this sport or travel or an interaction of the two. Finally, as Reeves (2000:34) points out, the social interaction motive ‘has clearly identifiable links with the travelling or “touring” of sports teams, at all levels of participation’ and Green and Chalip (1998) provide a useful illustration of this in their study of the Key West Women’s Flag Football Tournament where their findings suggest ‘that a pivotal motivation for these women’s choice of travel and destination is the opportunity to come together to share revelry in the instantiation of their identity’ (p. 286). Cultural motivators related to seeing and experiencing ‘other-

ness’ (MacCannell, 1999) can perhaps be more widely seen in the tourism rather than the sport literature. Nevertheless, undoubtedly sport is a globalized cultural phenomenon which can also be a representation of the local. Nauright (1996) believes that sporting events and people’s reactions to them are the clearest public manifestations of culture and collective identities in particular societies. Furthermore, Bale (1989) identifies sport as being a major determinant of collective and place identity. As cultural motivators relate to the desire to experience other cultures and lifestyles, it seems that sport is increasingly being seen as a representation of such local cultures and lifestyles, and is increasingly attracting the interest of the culturally motivated sports tourist. Moreover, in this context, the sports tourist is not only experiencing a sports event, but is also participating in a local cultural celebration of collective and place identity, with the resulting experience being derived from a synergistic interaction of the activity, the people and the place, with the primacy or importance of either the sport or the tourism element being redundant. As such, this is a clear manifestation of the coming together of motivations for sport and for tourism. In the Olympic context, the local

(i.e., host’s) interpretation of the global Olympic phenomenon is a key part of this cultural interaction. Here the presentation and interpretation of the Olympic Games is a clear manifestation of local culture, as the very different Games hosted by Sydney and Athens testify (see case studies in Chapters 7 and 8 for further details). That such cultural heritage is utilized extensively in the iconography of television coverage of the Games further highlights the importance of this local and global interaction. Status and prestige motives are equally important for both

sport and tourist activity. Goal achievement is often regarded as a key motive for sport, especially in relation to elite performance, and this is clearly relevant in relation to the Olympic Games. As Reeves (2000:35) points out, for many individuals winning provides the primary motive for participation which he suggests might be explained by Achievement Goal Theory. Here individuals who exhibit ‘an ego-oriented outlook in life will tend to transfer this rationale to their participation in sport’ and ‘the goal or motive for such individuals is to maintain a favourable perception of their ability’. This is closely linked to the pursuit of rewards which may be tangible in the form of prizes, medals or trophies or intangible in the form of praise, encouragement, satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment. And, of course, all of this is related to the acquisition of status. Such motives are equally important for tourists. Several writers, borrowing from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, refer to the goal of self-fulfilment involving certain types of tourist achieving the ambition of ‘collecting places’ (Urry, 2001), or increasingly ‘collecting experiences’. As such, the desire to visit Olympic sites or to experiencing the Olympic Games themselves, can clearly be linked to status and prestige motivators. Furthermore, there is also the related motive of wish-fulfilment with tourists seeking to achieve their dreams and fantasies and this is also related to status, another ambition of the sports person. Just as the sports person can achieve status through winning and achieving high levels of performance, so too the tourist can acquire status through conspicuous consumption in the form of ever more exotic and expensive holidays. In each of the areas discussed above, it is clear that the motives

of the sports participant and the tourist can be remarkably similar. Given the ideographic nature of motivation, it is likely that some individuals motivated to achieve, for example, social goals through sport, may not be similarly motivated to experience those goals through tourism. However, for others the convergence of these goals in the activity of sports tourism may result in a very powerful motivating force. It is here that the concept of optimal arousal is useful.