Perceptions of Terrorism Threats at the 2004 Olympic Games: Implications for Sport Events

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Journal Article
Journal of Sport Tourism, 2007, 12 (2), pp. 99 - 114
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A legacy of September 11, 2001, and subsequent terrorist attacks such as the Bali, (2002), Madrid (2004) and London (2005) bombings, is evidenced in the increased security measures put in place at major sport events. Heightened attention to safety management and public concern about terrorism threats and perception of risk has now become a fundamental component of the planning and risk management strategies for sport events. On the basis of appraisal-tendency theory (Lerner & Keltner, 2001), we investigated effects of anger and fear on risk judgments of 277 attendees at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Attendees who reported being fearful or feeling unsafe at the Games displayed increased risk estimates and associated concerns, whilst respondents expressing defiance and anger produced opposite reactions. Male respondents had less pessimistic risk perceptions than did females, and men were more likely than women to report that the increased security measures detracted from their Olympic Games experience. Nationality had minimal effect on perceptions of risk except in the case of the host country, with Greek respondents reporting fewer concerns for safety but greater awareness of the security measures present at the Games. The discussion focuses on theoretical, methodological and practical implications.
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