- Psychology & the public
- What we do
- Member networks
- Careers, education & training
Euphoria, suppression and winning the race
Dwain Chambers was overjoyed after racing to victory in the 100-metre Olympic trials in Birmingham. The win puts the 34-year-old in the reckoning for selection into the British team for the London Games - a scenario made possible after his British Olympic Association's lifetime ban for drugs was overturned.
Chambers' joy was clear for all to see as he celebrated enthusiastically after crossing the finish line - and was even made to apologise for swearing in front of the TV cameras.
He said: "That was the most scared I've been in a long time, I didn't even think I was going to finish in the top three, that's how bad it felt."
Doug MacDonald from the University of Stirling says: "In elite sport the margins for success and failure are often minute, and this is particularly evident in the 100 metres. In order to achieve peak performance, elite sprinters like Dwain Chambers, need to ensure that they achieve the optimum state of mind for competition.
"So while winning the event is what really matters to athletes, the thoughts and feelings related to this can ironically hinder the performance. Often then, athletes will use mental techniques to suppress these feelings and this could account for Dwain Chambers reacted so euphorically when he no longer needed to suppress these thoughts and feelings."
The issue of Chambers' selection is one likely to cause plenty of controversy in the world of athletics due to his chequered past, with fellow runners and spectators both likely to have their opinions on whether or not he should be picked.
For the rest of the athletes, the Olympic trials in Birmingham will have thrown up a range of emotions, with many performers one step closer to realising their dream and representing their nation on the very biggest stage.
- Most Read
- Most Comments