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Title: Athletes' careers in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland: Differences in the evolution of research and support programs in two neighbor nations
Author(s): Park, Sunghee
Lavallee, David
Tod, David
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Editor(s): Stambulova, NB
Ryba, TV
Citation: Park S, Lavallee D & Tod D (2013) Athletes' careers in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland: Differences in the evolution of research and support programs in two neighbor nations. In: Stambulova N & Ryba T (eds.) Athletes' careers across cultures. International Perspectives on Key Issues in Sport and Exercise Psychology. London: Routledge, pp. 209-221.
Keywords: ACE UK
Athlete Lifestyle program
career transition out of sport
PerformanceLifestyle program
within sport career transitions
Issue Date: 2013
Date Deposited: 2-Nov-2015
Series/Report no.: International Perspectives on Key Issues in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Abstract: Fact-note: The United Kingdom (UK), which includes the island of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is located in Western Europe between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, and covers 243, 610 sq km. The total population is 63 million, white British (85 %) are majority ethnic groups, the official language is English, and the dominant religion is Christian.  The Republic of Ireland is located west of Great Britain covering 70,273 sq km. Its total population is 4.7 million, the majority of people (87 %) are Irish, English is official language, and Roman Catholic is dominant religion.  Sport: The elite sport context in the UK can be divided into professional and Olympic sports. Football, rugby, and cricket are the three major professional sports, but the professional athletes represent the minority of elite participants, and the majority of full-time elite athletes in the UK are amateur or Olympic competitors. The British Olympic Association and UK Sport are the two major National Governing Bodies (NGBs) in the UK. The UK has hosted three Olympics (1908, 1948, and 2012; all in London).  Similar to the UK, the elite sport context in the Republic of Ireland includes a mixture of professional and amateur sports. In the Republic of Ireland, Gaelic Games, including Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular sports (Delaney & Fahey, 2005). Compared to the UK, there is a smaller population of elite athletes in the Republic of Ireland. The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), the Irish Sport Council (ISC), and the Irish Institute of Sport (IIS) are the leading NGBs. According to the ISC (2008, 2009), boxing, athletics, and rowing are the leading performance sports in the Republic of Ireland. To prepare for the 2012 Olympics, the ISC selected 16 focused sports in 2009 and provided organizational support to these athletes.  Career research and assistance: The area of athlete career transition and development in the UK has grown since 1990s and has extended to include within sport career transitions and interventions. In 1999, UK Sport established the Athlete Career and Education (ACE) UK program to support athletes’ development as part of supporting their performance, and later they rebranded the program as Performance Lifestyle.  Athletes’ career and development studies in the Republic of Ireland have mainly been conducted by the IIS, and since 2008, they have provided an Athlete Lifestyle program to Irish elite athletes to enhance their performance and subjective well-being.
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