SafeSport: Perceptions of Harassment and Abuse From Elite Youth Athletes at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne 2020 Journal Articles 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. Design: A cohort study. Setting: The Winter YOG2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Participants: Accredited athletes at the YOG2020. Intervention: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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