Term of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Megan Byrd

Committee Member 1

Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 2

Amy Rundio


The greatest of all time (GOAT) is a topic commonly discussed in sports today (Lundberg & Rosenberg, 2020). Despite this increased use of the term, there is a lack of research on the topic of the GOAT which could serve to benefit individuals in performance domains. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory study was to investigate characteristics that describe a GOAT and the impact these characteristics of the GOAT have on individuals. Two participants were included in this study. The participants were white male, retired, and individual sport athletes who competed in multiple World Championships. Participants were interviewed using semi-structured interviews and narrative inquiry to analyze the data and create stories. Narrative inquiry uses thematic and narrative analysis to analyze the data (Douglas & Carless, 2006). Thematic analysis was used to find themes related to the data to uncover characteristics. Narrative analysis was used to determine the stories presented by the participants and explore the impact related to each subtheme. The themes found include drives, qualities, and values. The findings include qualities of self-belief, resiliency, and consistency as well as values of self-direction and humility. The impact of striving to be the GOAT was perceived to have both adaptive (e.g., “bootstrap mentality”, effort, healthier living) and maladaptive (e.g., performance pressure, depression, relationship issues) influences on performance and wellbeing.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material