Comparative Elite Sport Development

1st Edition

systems, structures and public policy

Editors: Barrie Houlihan Mick Green
Paperback ISBN: 9780750682817
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 19th November 2007
Page Count: 320


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There is a paucity of academic work in the area of elite sport development despite there being ample evidence that achieving international sporting success is of increasing importance to the public (exemplified by consistent media interest in elite success or the lack of it) and to governments in most developed countries who have, almost without exception, increased the level of public funding for elite squad development often to the detriment of other sports policy objectives such as increasing general levels of participation.

Comparative Elite Sport Development: systems, structures and public policy focuses on the identification and development of elite sporting talent especially in Olympic sports. Written by a team of international contributors it applies a reflective and analytical approach, and both informs, and is informed by, established bodies of theory in policy analysis. Uniquely, it adopts a comparative approach of policy rivals, leading 'sports powers' and policy innovators, which provides broad and thorough analytical coverage.

Key Features

  • A revealing and unique comparative study of policy rivals, leading 'sports powers' and policy innovators - including China, Japan, Singapore, Germany, France, Poland, Norway, New Zealand and the United States
  • Edited by well established experts in the field and contributed to by a global team of cutting edge researchers
  • Focuses on the hot-topic of identifying and developing elite sporting talent especially in Olympic sports


Primary: Final year undergraduate and postgraduate students Secondary: Researchers; academics; practitioners

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction by Barrie Houlihan and Mick Green Chapter 2: China by Fan Hong Chapter 3: Japan by Mayumi Ya-Ya Yamamoto Chapter 4: Singapore by Lionel Teo Chapter 5: Germany by Karen Petry, Dirk Steinbach and Verena Burk Chapter 6: France by Emmanuel Bayle, Christophe Durand and Luc Nikonoff Chapter 7: Poland by Jolanta Ýyúko Chapter 8: Norway by Pål Augestad and Nils Asle Bergsgard Chapter 9: New Zealand by Shane Collins Chapter 10: United States by Emily Sparvero, Laurence Chalip, and B. Christine Green Chapter 11: Conclusions by Mick Green and Barrie Houlihan


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About the Editor

Barrie Houlihan

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor at the Institute of Sport and Leisure Policy, Loughborough University

Mick Green

Affiliations and Expertise

Lecturer in Sport and Leisure Policy and Management at Loughborough University


“This collection is a rarity: the editors provide a clear conceptual framework to assist authors, the authors use the framework to inform their analyses of athlete development in each of nine nation-states, and the editors use the chapters to write a concluding chapter that identifies the complex social, economic, political, and historical factors that shape processes of creating elite athletes in today's societies. As a result, this collection comes together in a way that will keep readers engaged and leave them better informed about sports in society.” Jay Coakley, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA “In the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with many predicting that China is about to take the lead in the ‘global sporting arms race’, this is a very timely book. Houlihan and Green have taken the cross-cultural study of high performance sport development systems to a new level. Using sophisticated analytical tools for the comparison of national sport policies this book takes important steps towards understanding how and why countries compete in the ‘global sporting arms race’. These are important questions when governments compete to spend many millions to host sporting mega events and develop competitive athletes, often at the expense of urgent social needs in their countries.” Professor Peter Donnelly, Director, Centre for Sport Policy Studies, University of Toronto