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Weightlifting during the COVID-19 pandemic—A transnational study regarding motivation, barriers, and coping of master athletes


Huebner, Marianne (2021), Weightlifting during the COVID-19 pandemic—A transnational study regarding motivation, barriers, and coping of master athletes, Dryad, Dataset,


Sport has been heavily impacted by the pandemic for over a year with restrictions and closures of facilities. The main aims of this study are to identify motivation and barriers for an international group of Master weightlifters (ages 35 and up) and analyze age and gender differences in pandemic-related changes to physical activities. A sample of 1051 older athletes, 523 women and 528 men, aged from 35 to 88 years, from Australia, Canada, Europe, and the USA provided responses to an online survey conducted in June 2021. A confirmatory factor analysis was performed to examine age, gender, and regional differences about motivation, barriers, and pandemic impact on sport and physical activities. Participants showed enthusiasm for the opportunity to compete despite health challenges with increasing age but faced barriers due to access to training facilities and qualified coaches even before the pandemic. The oldest athletes had the greatest reduction in physical activities during the pandemic. Weightlifters had the opportunity to compete in virtual competitions and 44% would like to see some of these continued in the future, especially women. These findings highlight the benefits of competitive sports and may provide future directions in strength sports for organizations, sports clubs, and coaches.


Participants are weightlifters in the Masters category who turn 35 or older during 2021 in Australia (AUS), Canada (CAN), Germany (GER), Great Britain (GBR), Spain (ESP), and the USA. Individuals were invited to participate in the study through email, and newsletters by the national governing bodies of weightlifting, and via online platforms including Facebook and Instagram. The survey was administered online via Qualtrics (Provo, UT, USA). The survey was administered in June 2021 when the pandemic had already been in place for over a year and restrictions started to ease or were expected to ease. At the time of the survey, the number of cases of COVID-19 infection decreased with the availability of vaccinations, but several areas still experienced lockdown measures.  Of the 1120 respondents, 65 were excluded from the study due to missing information on pandemic-related questions.

Usage notes

Main data file: wldat_dryad.csv

Data dictionary: wldat_dictionary.xlsx

Readme file: wldat_readme.docx