What Psychological Impact Does A 'No-Crowds Olympics' Have On Athletes?
Has the lack of crowd noise helped or hindered athletes? It's complicated, sports psychologists say.
While the fan-less Tokyo Olympics isn’t shaping up to be the “joyless games” some predicted it might be ? look at the irrepressible joy on the faces of fencer Lee Kiefer and swimmer Caeleb Dressel! ? the games have been a little more subdued than usual.
Out of concern for rising COVID-19 cases, spectators were banned from the usually bustling venues and stadiums of the Olympics at the eleventh hour, putting pressure on coaches and teammates to supply even more supportive cheering than usual.
Officials at the games have tried to replicate the roar and exuberance of a real crowd. Ambient crowd sounds customized for each sport are reportedly being piped into the stadiums to add a little atmosphere for the athletes.
That might get some competitors pumped up, but just as many will view it as distracting noise, said Bruce Walker, a professor of psychology and interactive computing who directs the Sonification Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology..............