Seventh Annual Conference of the Memory Studies Association

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...Oral Presentation


Panellist: Memory & Sport: Exploring New Connections Across Disciplinary Communities
Paper entitled: "From 'Masochists' to 'feeling pretty special': (Re)composing Australian triathlon memory around women"

Additional information

From “Masochists” to “Feeling pretty special”: (Re)composing Australian triathlon memory around women
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many highly memorable triathlons were staged by Australian event management company, Multi-Sport Masochists. The company name featured a term that was widely used in Australian triathlon print media and oral traditions in the 1980s. During the same period, the President of the Triathlon Association of Victoria sparked a debate when he asked readers of the organisational newsletter why so few women participated in triathlon. Among the flood of responses by women published in the subsequent edition of the newsletter were many references to the perception of triathlon as a “macho” sport. Women contributors to the newsletter, other magazines, and in oral histories conducted over the past decade, instead present triathlon as an activity enabling growing confidence and self-affirmation. Drawing on oral history methodological interests in composure and feminist narrative approaches, this paper traces gendered conceptualisations of triathlon in grass roots acts of social memory such as articles in triathlon niche media, social media discourse and oral histories. It suggests that gendered understandings of triathlon are negotiated in triathlon memory-making acts. While hypermasculine accounts of athletic extremism tend to dominate in triathlon discourse, women have pursued composure with counter-narratives that discursively recognise them as female athletes. This paper considers what triathlon looks like when we focus of female social memory.
Period7 Jul 2023
Event typeConference
Conference number7
LocationNewcastle, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational