Silva, J. M., & Hardy, C. J. (1986). Discriminating contestants at the United State Olympic marathon trials as a function of precompetitive affect. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 17, 100-109.

Some competitors at the 1984 US Olympic marathon trials were divided into the top 50 placegetters (N = 11) and others (N = 21). The better performing group demonstrated a more positive precompetitive affective state (e.g., lower anxiety, less confusion, more introversion). When the tested factors were used to re-predict the level of performance of all the Ss, the top-50 was discriminated with 81.7% accuracy, while the lesser group was discriminated with 61.4% accuracy.

Implication. One feature of better performers (in marathon running) is that they are primarily positive in their precompetition mental set. However, this is not the only ingredient. Some lesser performers are also positive before a race but, as a group, not to the same degree of uniformity as the best.

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