Positioning in Olympic Winter sports: analysing national prioritisation of funding and success in eight nations

Weber, Andreas Ch.; De Bosscher, Veerle; Kempf, Hippolyt (2018). Positioning in Olympic Winter sports: analysing national prioritisation of funding and success in eight nations European Sport Management Quarterly, 18(1), pp. 8-24. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/16184742.2017.1336782

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Research question: Despite the attention the Olympic Winter Games has received by scholars, there has been little theoretically informed analysis on the positioning of nations in a dynamic environment. The purpose of this paper is to analyse how nations position themselves in the Winter Games by comparing national funding prioritisations of Olympic Winter sports. Research methods: The distribution of funding in 2010/2011 is used as a proxy to examine how eight nations prioritise among seven sports. National policies are analysed at two levels: (a) the concentration of funding among the supported sports is measured using the Hirschman-Herfindahl Index (HHI) and (b) the Spearman’s rho coefficient is used to examine the correlations between the distribution of funding (2010/2011) and success per sport in the past (1992–2006), recent past (2010) and future (2014). Results and findings: All nations show some prioritisation, but the resulting distribution of funding differs. For example, South Korea diversifies its funding most equally (HHI = 0.18), while Switzerland’s funding is more concentrated (HHI = 0.46). Furthermore, positioning differs depending on the type of sport most prioritised, be it skiing (Australia, Canada, Finland and Switzerland), skating (Japan and the Netherlands), both (South Korea) or bobsleigh/skeleton (Great Britain). Meanwhile, high correlation values were found for Australia, Great Britain, Finland and Japan in all periods, while the Netherlands, Canada, South Korea and Switzerland show high values in specific periods only. The results provide empirical evidence on different positioning strategies regarding the investment in either a focused or a diversified portfolio of targeted sports. Implications: Using a management perspective derived from economics, this study supports national decision-makers to compare prioritisation policies in their own national context.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Sportökonomie


Weber, Andreas Ch.0000-0001-5322-5068;
De Bosscher, Veerle and
Kempf, Hippolyt


1618-4742 (Print) 1746-031X (Online)


Taylor & Francis




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Date Deposited:

15 Feb 2021 12:45

Last Modified:

07 Oct 2021 02:18

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

National elite sport policy Prioritisation of sports National Sports Agency National elite sport funding Hirschman-Herfindahl Index





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