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[Pn. 1] Gender, Politics, and Sport: Media Coverage of the 2012 London Summer Olympics

19 October 2013


The Olympic Games have become the world’s premier multi-sport event, an enormous display of competition and cooperation that rallies nations and cultures from around the world to participate in an array of sports. As the world’s biggest sports, media, and marketing event, the Olympics also present a propitious opportunity to explore the nexus of gender and politics. In this study we zero in on the role of gender at the 2012 London Summer Games as transmitted through the mainstream mass media in the United States and United Kingdom. We focus on the actions of Olympic athletes and how the media framed those actions. More precisely we analyze three gender-centric episodes that were covered widely by the media during the 2012 Olympics: (1) the first-ever participation by women from Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Qatar; (2) the participation of South African runner Caster Semenya and the issue of sex testing, and; (3) women’s beach volleyball competition and gender norms. Deploying frame analysis and feminist critical theory, we offer quantitative and qualitative analysis of these three episodes.


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