eCite Digital Repository

Drinking, downfall and redemption: biographies and 'athlete addicts'


Palmer, C, Drinking, downfall and redemption: biographies and 'athlete addicts', Celebrity Studies, 7, (2) pp. 169-181. ISSN 1939-2397 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/19392397.2015.1060131


Accounts of drinking and drunken misadventures often feature in narratives surrounding sporting celebrities. Often framed as a ‘fall from grace’, such accounts tend to paint the athlete as a ‘fool or villain’. For some sportsmen and women, their fall from grace represents a high-profile, public display of a more insidious, problematic relationship with drugs and alcohol rather than a scandalous transgression of moral values as more typically cast. Drawing on four (auto)biographies that recount the story of an athlete’s struggle with alcohol addiction, this article examines some of the narratives of alcoholism among professional athletes, particularly their decline, recovery and, in some cases, their death. Employing the ‘restitution narrative’ common in the sociology of health and illness to shape particular relationships between an individual and their illness, the article highlights some of the contradictory themes that run through narratives of addiction in professional sport which, for some athletes, are the ‘hidden’ aspect of their life as a sporting celebrity. While sport may have a rich tradition of famous drinkers, their behaviours – and how the story around these behaviours is recounted and remembered – have not yet been researched in a systematic, theoretically informed analysis that can add to our understandings of the contemporary sporting celebrity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sport celebrity; sporting celebrities; biographies; alcohol; addiction
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Media studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Palmer, C (Professor Catherine Palmer)
ID Code:101690
Year Published:2016 (online first 2015)
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-07-01
Last Modified:2018-02-17

Repository Staff Only: item control page