Negotiating Multiple Identities of Brazilian Paralympians
In this article, I draw on the personal narratives of 41 Brazilian Paralympic athletes who competed in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games to explore their multiple identities shaped within and outside sport and how they negotiated those self-representations. Parathletes’ narratives gave a sense of who they are, how they live their lives, and what their struggles, hopes, and aspirations are within and outside sport. The available studies in disability sport and the representation of disabled athletes have largely failed to examine the stories of these individuals and address their unique realities and perspectives. Five major themes emerged from the interview analysis regarding the parathletes’ self-representation: athletic identity, gender identity, disability identity, national identity, and activist identity. These accounts also revealed how these individuals negotiated their multiple identities in different settings and the tensions they experienced in their social interactions. The Rio Paralympics presented such a new interaction setting for the Brazilian parathletes who competed on such a grand scale at home for the first time and provided multiple examples in the athletes’ accounts of their identities.