Analyzing the British News Media’s Representations of British ...

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Abstract

The Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games are the first Games with numerical gender parity, with equal numbers of male and female athletes competing. Notably, during the Olympic Games, the proportion of coverage sportswomen receive in the media is significantly greater than outside of the Games, albeit considerably less than sportsmen. As such, the representations and framing of sportswomen during this period of increased visibility hold significant importance and influence. In this context, we examine the trends that have been previously identified in the representations of sportswomen in the sports media and explore the representations of three British sportswomen who represented Great Britain during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the British news media: Dina Asher-Smith (athletics), Helen Glover (rowing), and Bethany Shriever (BMX racing). Despite evidence of some progress in female Olympians’ media representations, ambivalent narratives and gendered discursive journalistic practices are still prevalent in British news media. In light of these findings, we suggest ways that the journalists and media organizations can improve representations of sportswomen to facilitate progression towards gender equity in sports reporting at future Olympic Games.