International recognition for CSU exercise and sports scientist

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) exercise scientist has received an international award for excellence for her research into online media coverage of Olympic sports and gender.

A research paper by Dr Chelsea Litchfield (pictured), senior lecturer, researcher and Associate Head of the CSU School of Exercise Science, Sport and Health in Bathurst, was announced the winner of the International Award for Excellence for Volume 9 of The International Journal of Sport and Society.

The Sport and Society Research Network announced the selection of Dr Litchfield’s article ‘Female Athletes, Olympic, and Non-Olympic Online Sports Coverage in Australia’ which was selected for the award from among the highest-ranked articles emerging from the peer-review process and according to the selection criteria outlined in the peer-review guidelines.

Dr Litchfield said of her research, “The representations of women athletes in traditional media spaces have been an area of enquiry that has attracted a plethora of academic interest since the 1980s.

“However, online and social media spaces provide a new platform for such enquiries.

“This research paper was one of several deriving from a larger study that investigated the quantity and quality of media coverage received by female athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

“It was one of the first pieces of research that focused on Australian female athletes and online media.

“This research showed that while there are some real positives for gender equality in sports reporting in online spaces, there are also spaces where there was not equal or fair gendered sports coverage, such as photographs and non-Olympic reporting.

“In addition, the Olympic Games event provides only a short period of time where regular and respectful coverage for female athletes is present in the sports media in Australia, and this does not reflect what sports reporting may look like when the Games have finished.

“This type of research remains critical to developing an understanding of how women fit in the world of sport, particularly in the online space of sports coverage.”

Dr Litchfield’s article ‘Female Athletes, Olympic, and Non-Olympic Online Sports Coverage in Australia’ can be freely accessed here: https://doi.org/10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v09i03/35-51.

In a separate acknowledgement of Dr Litchfield’s research, the Olympic Studies Centre has included another of her co-authored research articles − titled ‘Twitter, Team GB and the Australian Olympic team: representations of gender in social media spaces’ − in the database for the Olympic World Library, based in Switzerland. See this database here: https://library.olympic.org/#_blank.

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