First Advisor

Gray, Dianna P.

Document Type


Date Created



The Winter Olympic Games are probably the best time for casual sports fans to watch women's ice hockey at its finest, and the commentary of sports broadcasters can greatly shape viewers' impressions of the sporting event. This study explored ways in which the NBC broadcasts of the 2010 Winter Olympic ice hockey tournament differed based on the sex of the ice hockey players including differences in production value, the use of gendered language, and the commentators' portrayals of female and male ice hockey players. The primary method for ascertaining differences was content analysis using a mixed-methods approach to analyze the descriptions of athletes. Chi-Square analysis was used to compare category frequencies between female and male athletes. Results showed similar levels of production value other than the use of the telestrator in which all uses were during the men's games. Gendered language was also present. For example, the women's competition was gender marked frequently as "women's hockey," there were many references to female players with male-gendered terms such as "defensemen," and commentators named female players by just their first names. Finally, the coding of the informative, descriptive, and evaluative commentary showed that female athletes were portrayed as athletes first with the top-ranked description being their fine technical skills. However, commentators also focused on the female players' emotions and personalities indicating that these aspects also contribute to their success and thus perpetuating that gendered stereotype in sports.

Abstract Format



content analysis; gendered language; gender stereotypes; media portrayals of athletes; women's ice hockey; Winter Olympic Games; Mixed-Methods Research


216 pages

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Copyright is held by author.