It has been well documented that female athletes receive much less media attention than male athletes, with estimates placing coverage of male athletes at 95% of all sport-related media (Coakley, 1986). While not to that extent, studies focusing on media portrayals of Olympic athletes also confirm that the media dedicates the majority of coverage to male athletes (Duncan, 1990; Duncan & Hasbrook, 1988; Hambrick, Simmons, Greenhalgh, & Greenwell, 2010; Higgs, Weiller, & Martin, 2003; Lee, 1992; Kinnick, 1998; Pfister, 1978). Some evidence suggests that media coverage of female athletes and the recognition of their achievements are slowly increasing (Higgs et al., 2003; Kinnick, 1998). While the aforementioned studies show many of the same results, no recent research on the subject was found. The majority of past research has focused on summer Olympians specifically, and no studies were found looking at the past five Olympic Games. This study will add to the literature by providing new data to compare to that of previous studies. The author conducted a content analysis, looking at six online media outlets, and selecting 100 athlete profiles. The profiles were coded for any reference to the physical/emotional or strength/weakness characteristics of the athlete. The author analyzed the data using SPSS. Findings show no statistically significant relationships between gender and athlete characteristics, suggesting noticeable improvements in the quality and quantity of media coverage for female athletes when compared to previous studies.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Communications



Date Submitted


Document Type





appearance, athlete profile, content analysis, framing theory, gender, Olympics, Sochi

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Communication Commons