Collective effervescence is an amplified, excited reaction made possible when a group of people experience something emotional together. We used a descriptive mixed methods approach to investigate both the individual and collective emotions of Team USA age group triathletes as they participated in the 2012 International Triathlon Union’s (ITU’s) Grand Final in Auckland, New Zealand. The results of our study suggest that participation in this event evoked emotions consistent with the themes of Intrinsic Arousal, Anxiety, National Pride, and Social Arousal. Further, the results indicated that this group of experienced athletes was less motivated by performance outcome goals (i.e., placing in the top three) and more motivated by the individual and collective emotions associated with being a member of Team USA and representing the USA on a national stage. While some have suggested that the more elite athletes may be more attuned to their emotional states than less accomplished competitors, we found the very nature of the Grand Final as a world championship event, coupled with the symbols and rituals associated with Team USA membership, provided age group athletes a rare chance to experience similar states.


Team USA, Triathlon, Collective Effervescence, Athlete Arousal

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