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Search for the hero: an investigation into the sports heroes of British sports fans

by Keith D. Parry from the School of Services Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK. Published in: Sport in Society, Volume 12, Issue 2 March 2009, pages 212 - 226

This is an initial study into British sports fans' heroes. A questionnaire was sent to 95 students (average age = 19.75) to identify their sporting hero, the hero's sport and nationality and the reasons for this choice. Football was the most common source of sports heroes, identified by 49% of participants with a sporting hero. The majority (60%, N = 48) of heroes chosen by participants were British, with David Beckham the most popular choice. Differences were observed between the gender of participants, gender of hero chosen and the reasons for choosing the hero. The most common reason for selecting a hero was a personal trait rather than skill, while in the questionnaire a category of Local Affiliation was added to those suggested by previous work. It was concluded that to become a hero athletes should combine skill with devotion to family, charity work and a place in popular culture.

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