Natalia Stambulova

Dr. Natalia B. Stambulova is a Senior Professor in Sport & Exercise Psychology in School of Health and Welfare at Halmstad University, Sweden. Her professional experiences in sport psychology refer to her work for over four decades as a teacher, researcher and practitioner. Her research and publications relate mainly to the athlete career/talent development topic with an emphasis on athletes’ dual careers (in sport and education), various career transitions, developmental crises, and factors involved. Dr. Stambulova is a fellow of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP), as well as a winner of Distinguished International Scholar Award of the AASP (2004), Ema Geron Award from the European Federation of Sport Psychology (2019) and Distinguished International Sport Psychologist Award from the ISSP (2021). She also is also a former (2009-2017) Vice President of the ISSP.

Keynote theme

In Pursuit of Dual Career Excellence: Challenges, Coping, and Support

In this keynote lecture I am going to begin with situating dual career (DC) research, assistance and policy making within the athlete career (sport psychology) discourse and proceed with defining European DC discourse. Four major review papers (Guidotti et al., 2015; Kegelaers et al., 2022; Stambulova & Wylleman, 2019; Tessitore et al., 2021) will help to overview current body of DC knowledge embracing three decades of research on student-athletes. Further I will define DC excellence as sustaining a healthy, successful, and long-lasting career in sport in combination with education and/or work and present my narrative on DC excellence pursuit in the form of seven postulates grounded in international DC research. The postulates relate to DC contexts, pathways and transitions, challenges, resources and coping, support and empowerment, mental health, and DC development environments. In conclusion, some applied issues and future challenges will be briefly discussed.

Peter Donnelly

Peter Donnelly is Professor of Sports Policy & Politics at the University of Toronto, Canada. His track record in sports science is impressive and consists of studies related to sport policy and politics, sport and social inequality, sport subcultures, sport and space as well as sociology and risk taking. Donnelly is a leading figure in the emerging field of research on children's rights in sport and children in high performance sport.

Keynote theme

THE DISTORTIONS OF CHILDHOOD: Thoughts on Child Labour, COVID and Sport

For almost 40 years I have been working on a project that considers children's participation in elite sport as a form of child labour. For two years I have been working on a project that considers the implications of the pandemic for grassroots sport and sport for development in the countries of the Commonwealth.
The organizers have challenged me to find a way to speak about both projects, and I have accepted that challenge in the hope that you will indulge me in undertaking a thought experiment.
I plan to speak about recent developments in the projects where I will try to establish two cases, and explore the comparisons and the contradictions between them: a. the over-protection of children during the pandemic, leading many children to be homebound and prevented from participation in outdoor play and sport (taking into account social inequalities, and a more widespread [pre-pandemic] tendency to over-protect children); and b. the under-protection of children (abandonment of responsibility for children) in the elite sport system, where there is a tendency to hand over responsibility to 'experts' to use their own means to increase a child's chance/opportunity to achieve success/fame.
Given the experimental nature of this presentation, there may not be a satisfactory conclusion.

Susanna Hedenborg

Susanna Hedenborg is Professor of Sports Science at Malmö University and president of the Swedish Research Council for Sport Science and the Swedish Anti-Doping Foundation. Hedenborg has her academic background in economic history but has examined sport from historical and contemporary perspectives.  Particular focus has been placed on changes in children's and youth sports as well as sports from a gender perspective. In Hedenborg's research, equestrian sports have received special attention. Hedenborg is currently part of a larger research project funded by Mistra, which studies the environmental impact of sports and outdoor life and how organizations in sports and outdoor life are handling the environmental issue.

Keynote theme

Green sports? Sport organizations work and challenges for an environmentally sustainable future

Researchers in sport science have since long been interested in how the natural environment affects athletes. An example is the interest in high-altitude training that increased before the Olympics in Mexico City in 1968. Since the competitions were to be held at more than 2000 m above sea level research groups around the world began studies that dealt with how athletes would perform at high altitude. Comparative studies were also made of how athletes who lived and already trained at high and low altitude respectively performed. In addition, other studies that shed light on how performance was affected by athletes’ surroundings were done on both humans and animals. Common to these studies was that ‘nature’ was taken for granted, while the athletic body was seen as something that was affected by it. Perhaps it is not surprising that the impact of humans and sports on nature has not been at the center of sports organizations, research or the media. Since the modern Olympic games were introduced in the late 19th century, the motto of sports and not least the Olympic Games has been Citius, Altius, Fortius - faster, higher, stronger - and training and competition have been conducted to push the limits of speed, height and strength. But it is worth recalling that there are also other slogans for sport such as Fair Play and equality, which have entailed certain limitations of these aspirations, and that people practice sports for many different reasons. In addition, sport’s sustainability goals related to economic and social sustainability show that sport and politics are closely intertwined and that sport's organizations as well as the media and researchers can focus on issues other than who runs the fastest and how someone can train to get there. In this keynote, sport organizations work with environmental challenges will be identified, discussed and problematized.