SafeSport: Perceptions of Harassment and Abuse From Elite Youth Athletes at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne 2020 Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objective

    To analyze the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) 2020 athletes' understanding and perceptions of harassment and abuse in sport and their knowledge of reporting mechanisms.


    A cohort study.


    The Winter YOG2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland.


    Accredited athletes at the YOG2020.


    An athlete safeguarding educational program was delivered at the YOG2020. Participating athletes were encouraged to answer a survey embedded in the safeguarding educational materials during the YOG.

    Main outcome measures

    Perception of occurrence of harassment and abuse as well as knowledge of the term "safe sport" and reporting mechanisms.


    The survey response rate of athletes attending the Safe Sport Booth was 69%. When asked to define Safe Sport, 10% of athletes at the YOG2020 correctly identified a sport environment free from harassment and abuse, 20% identified fair play/antidoping, and 19% safety. When presented with the definition of harassment and abuse, 30.4% expressed surprise, in contrast to 46% in the summer YOG2018. A third (32%) reported that harassment and abuse was either "likely" or "very likely" present in their sport, which was similar to the YOG2018 (34%). The group of athletes not knowing where to go to report harassment and abuse was greater than in the YOG2018 (26% vs 11%). There were no differences in responses between competitive sex (boys' vs girls' events) or type of sport (team vs individual).


    Outcomes of this study, such as the development of youth-friendly terminology and emphasizing mechanisms for reporting of harassment and abuse, should inform the development of safeguarding educational materials for youth athletes.


  • Mountjoy, Margo
  • Vertommen, Tine
  • Tercier, Stephane
  • Greinig, Susan
  • Burrows, Kirsty

publication date

  • May 2022