The effects of Olympic inclusion on sport: the case of trampolining in England
thesisposted on 10.11.2011, 12:25 by Katharine Berry
The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of Olympic inclusion on sport through the case study of trampolining in England. This was considered in terms of changes to elite trampolining, recreational trampolining and school trampolining across the dimensions of organisational structure, funding and support, and underlying policy. This has been achieved through constructing a primarily qualitative piece of work underpinned by a critical realist ontology and epistemology. 45 individuals involved in the sport of trampolining or working in the more general sport delivery system were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. Most of the direct implications of the inclusion of trampolining in the Olympics have only affected the elite level of the sport. Adding trampolining to the Olympic programme was viewed as a very positive thing by interviewees involved in the sport because it was seen to improve the status of the sport. The forced merger of the British Trampoline Federation with British Gymnastics received significant criticism from former British Trampoline Federation members due to a perceived loss of power and autonomy. However this amalgamation did raise standards of governance and management in elite trampolining, as did increased expectations from organisations such as UK Sport. As a consequence of the increased professionalisation of the governance of elite trampolining, there is now more tension between paid staff and volunteers. Since the sport has been in the Olympic programme elite trampolining has benefitted from significant funding from UK Sport and also support from the English Institute of Sport and the British Olympic Association. Assistance from all three organisations is extremely ring-fenced and channelled towards the elite. For example, English Institute of Sport support is totally focussed on a very limited number of named individuals who compete at an international level. Funding from UK Sport is dependent on British Gymnastics meeting ambitious performance targets in trampolining and so forms an incentive contract which has dictated the focus within the National Governing Body. Hence the balance between elite trampolining and sport for all has swung towards the higher echelon of the sport from both economic and structural perspectives. Few benefits from trampolining being in the Olympic programme filter down to the recreational and school levels of the sport and those that have tend to be indirect impacts. This is partly due to a lack of coherent governance both within the sport and also in terms of the wider sporting landscape. Support given to recreational trampolining by English Gymnastics, Sport England and County Sport Partnerships, and support given to school trampolining by the British Schools Gymnastics Association, the Youth Sport Trust and School Sport Partnerships appears to be relatively unaffected by trampolining being in the Olympics. Also there are more pressing issues and priorities in recreational and school trampolining which prevented the Olympic inclusion of trampolining having a greater impact. For example, at a recreational level there is often a shortage of trampoline clubs to cater for demand and similarly in schools there is often a lack of trampolines and trained teachers.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences