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Andrew Meyer

Baylor University
Commodified Athletic Ideals: Muscular Christianity among Tour de France Spectators
Commodified Athletic Ideals: Muscular Christianity among Tour de France Spectators
Sport fans derive significant life meaning through participation with mega-sporting events, revealing the significant attraction and influence of these events. To explore these powerful attractions, this study built upon previous scholarship on the continued hegemonic influence of muscular Christianity in contemporary sport (Meyer, et al. 2017). This empirical research reveals aspects of spectator attraction and commodified sport ideals among spectators at the 2014 Tour de France. This effort explored personal perceptions of athleticism, physical activity, and historic muscular Christian themes which were assumed to promote universal sporting ideals. Tour de France spectators (n=519) participated in a survey assessing sociodemographic characteristics, health-related factors (e.g., physical activity, perceived athleticism), and the Contemporary Muscular Christian Instrument (CMCI). Linear regression quantified the relationship of sociodemographic and behavioral predictors with CMCI scores. Our findings reveal that religious affiliation and individual perceptions of athleticism and physical activity had the strongest correlation with CMCI themes, regardless of age or gender. This presentation discusses our findings and focuses on the commodification of muscular Christianity as it relates to the overall political economy of Le Tour de France, evidencing the continued influential power of muscular Christianity on contemporary global sport and active bodies.