doxa.comunicación | 31, pp. 131-151 | 133

July-December of 2020

Begoña Sanz Garrido

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

and marginalised (Birrell, 2000; Hoeber, 2007). Concerning female athletes’ media coverage, this translates into a quantitative and qualitative under-representation in the media.

Women’s sport has always had less media coverage than men’s (Cooky, Ducan y Messner, 2005; Crouse, 2013; Fink and Kensicki, 2002; Grau, Roselli, and Taylor, 2007; Messner and Hextum, 2013). In Sainz de Baranda’s (2013) study of the Spanish sports press during 1979-2010, she states that the information on women’s sport does not exceed 4% in any of the years analysed. In 2015, the situation was very similar: the report Presencia y tratamiento del deporte Femenino en la Prensa generalista Vasca y en periódicos de información deportiva, prepared by the Basque Government’s Directorate of Youth and Sports, confirms that the information referring exclusively to women’s sport accounts for 4.96% of what is published in sports media.

However, the fact that the best female athletes compete in all Olympic Games to become Olympic champions and/or break the current record leads us to believe that women’s events’ media coverage has increased notably. Supposing that the success in sports competitions influences the national mood and confidence, it is assumed that the news coverage of particular sports and athletes and the likelihood of getting good results will correspond. In other words, the media will report more on the national athletes who win medals than those who do not.

Qualitatively, the media image of women as athletes is also undervalued compared to their male counterparts; it is associated more with female stereotypes than with their value as athletes (Alfaro, Bengoechea and Vázquez, 2010; Angulo, 2007; Bissell and Duke, 2007; Daniels, 2009; Giuliano, Turner, Lundquist and Knight, 2007; Jones, 2006; Kim, Walkosz, and Iverson, 2006; Knight and Giuliano, 2001; Lallana, 2005; Mateos, Martínez and Rodríguez, 2005; Sanz, 2012; Shaller, 2006).

From a critical feminist reading, we pose the following research questions in the described context of Spanish sportswomen’s successful sports performance and results (medals) in London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.

1.) Were the successes in Spanish women’s sports in those Olympic events narrated in terms of national pride?

2.) Do the values that stood out from the female athletes correspond to those traditionally associated with sports role models such as effort, sacrifice, personal improvement, etc.?

3.) Did the medals won in London 2012 positively influence athletes’ quantitative and qualitative news coverage in the next Olympic Games in Rio 2016?

2. Methodology

The information published by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca has been used as a study sample to answer these questions in this research. The newspaper’s position in the readers’ rankings warrants its choice. Marca is a reference in Spain’s sports press and has had the highest readership for decades; it also had the biggest audience in 2012 and 2016 when our research was carried out. The data provided by the General Media Study shows that over the years, Marca’s