Convergence and Divergence of Elite Sport Policies: Is There a One-Size-Fits-All Model to Develop International Sporting Success?


This study is based on a detailed international comparison of the elite sport policies of 15 nations as part of the SPLISS (Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success) study. It aims to provide deeper insights into the phenomena of convergence and divergence of elite sport policies. The research uses a mixed methods approach based on document reviews, interviews with high performance directors and surveys of 3142 athletes, 1376 coaches and 246 performance directors. There appears to be no generic blueprint for achieving international sporting success. Nations that perform well in international competition show varying patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses across nine pillars, 96 critical success factors, and 750 sub-factors. While the basic raw ingredients of the recipe might be common in broad terms, the combinations in which they are mixed are diverse. Much of this diversity appears to be driven by social, cultural and political factors.

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