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Experiences leading elite motorcycle road racers to participate at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT): An existential perspective

Sille, R, Ronkainen, NJ and Tod, D (2019) Experiences leading elite motorcycle road racers to participate at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT): An existential perspective. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. ISSN 2159-676X

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Abstract

The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) is one of the deadliest and most controversial sporting events in the world, with more than 250 fatalities on the course over its 112-year history. Competitors race motorcycles at high speeds on public roads flanked by lampposts, trees, bus shelters, houses, and walls. The purpose of this study was to understand how engagement in TT might contribute to life meaning and give expression to our fundamental questions about existence. Four male athletes participated in life history interviews. Data were analysed using an existential-narrative approach and two representative stories identified: ‘That was the pivotal thing' and ‘You’re living your life, not just existing’. Themes were interpreted from an existential perspective, addressing authenticity, boundary situations, mortality and meaning. Riders constructed boundary situations as instrumental in their active choice to compete at TT. Within-TT experiences encompassed myriad sub-themes including conflicting emotions, perceptions of risk, flow and love for the sport, many reflecting TT as a site for engaging fully with life. Findings provide novel insight into riders’ experiences by interpreting their stories through an existential lens. We also suggest that classic theory and research, based on risk-taking and personality, does not adequately address motivation across all extreme sports.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 08:39
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2019 08:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1080/2159676X.2019.1618387
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10810

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