Durand-bus, N. & Salmela, J. H. (2002). The development and maintenance of expert athletic performance: Perceptions of world and Olympic champions. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 154-171.

Athletes (M = 4; F = 6) who had won at least two Gold medals at separate Olympics and/or World Champions were interviewed.

Four stages of career progression were described: sampling, specializing, investment, and maintenance years. Contextual factors included parents, coaches, teammates/friends, support staff, other athletes, and school/education. Personal characteristics related to self-confidence, motivation, creativity, and perseverance. Training involved technical, tactical, physical, and mental components and was influenced by quantity, quality, intensity, and recovery. Competition factors concerned meticulous planning, evaluations, dealing with pressure, expectations, and adversity, and focusing on the process rather than the outcome of these events.

Implication. This study cross-validated known features of champion character and performance (e.g., Champion Characteristics Checklist).

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