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Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology$
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Jeffrey J. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190638054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190638054.001.0001

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Supercrip Identity

Supercrip Identity

Chapter:
(p.139) 13 Supercrip Identity
Source:
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology
Author(s):

Jeffrey J. Martin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190638054.003.0015

A common stereotype in the disability literature is known as the supercrip, or someone who overcomes their disability in ways that are often seen by the public as inspiring. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the supercrip identity among athletes in disability sport settings. The supercrip stereotype has been criticized as portraying athletes with disabilities as overcoming or defeating their disability via heroic efforts. Often the accomplishments they are praised for are superior gold-medaling winning performances, but more mundane tasks such as going shopping are also praised. Excessive praise for engaging in everyday activities is thought to reflect low expectations about what a person with a disability can do. Many individuals view their impairment as part of their identity and not something to overcome or defeat. Supercrip-related praise for Paralympians can unrealistically raise expectations for all people with disabilities, including many who cannot do many of the things athletes with disabilities can do. The chapter discusses reasons for the supercrip identity, whether it is inspiring, and nuanced commentaries on the supercrip identity by academics, coaches, and athletes in disability sport.

Keywords:   supercrip identity, Paralympians, coaches, athletes with disabilities, athlete identity, everyday activities

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