Journal Article “Froome with His SKY Bodyguards, Layers of Armour”: The ‘Sport is War’ Conceptual Metaphor in Grand Tour Cycling Commentary

pp.1 - 22 , 2018-01-17Communication and Sport
Ross, A.S. and Rivers, D.J. (2018). “Froome with his SKY Bodyguards, Layers of Armour" – The ‘Sport is War’ Conceptual Metaphor in Grand Tour Cycling Commentary. Communication & Sport.
doi: 10.1177/2167479517752431
The incorporation of metaphors into everyday language use has formed the basis of scholarly investigation for decades. Particular attention has been given to conceptual metaphors, which are seen as essential tools for individuals to interpret and process various ideas and experiences. Within the milieu of metaphorical speech, metaphors of war have frequently been applied across a range of domains including politics, business, and sport. Within the sporting context, the notion of ‘Sport is War’ has been discussed in relation to various football codes, baseball, and tennis. In this article, we examine this metaphor in relation to professional stage-race cycling, a sport known for its combative, tactical, and physically demanding nature. We focus specifically on cycling commentary of the 2016 Tour de France—thus recalibrating the metaphor as‘Cycling is War.’ Our findings show that war metaphors are prevalent in cycling commentary and are particularly useful in highlighting aspects of the sport inclusive of competition, strategy, power, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Through these categories, the cycling is war metaphor can be said to have the potential to elevate viewer engagement as well as add insight into the technicalities of the sport and expand on previous under- standings of sport/war metaphors.

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