Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management


Julia Wallace Carr

David Shonk

Emeka Anaza

Joshua Pate


In the 61-year history of the Paralympic Games, the Games have never been canceled for any public health reasons. In order to participate in the Paralympic Games, the preparation process for professional athletes is planned at least four years in advance. Interruptions to this schedule can present significant challenges for elite athletes. Such was the case in 2020 with widespread cancellations of many athletic events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of in-home isolation can potentially cause athletes to experience different psychological conditions, including depression and anxiety as well as losing motivation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the motivation of elite para-athletes who were preparing to participate in the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore the experiences of 13 professional para-athletes with physical disabilities from the United States and Russia (8 females and 5 males). The following themes were identified: 1) the number of Paralympic competitions; 2) establishing new routines; 3) mentor support; and 4) motivational sources. These constructed themes explained how COVID-19 impacted motivation of professional athletes during one of the most unique periods of human history, with government restrictions and global lockdown.



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