A Representation of Canoeing Excellence: The Deification of Athletes and Gender Stereotypes

Research Questions
By Florian Hugedet

At a time when women’s practice of the sport is generating considerable concern within the French Canoeing Federation (Fédération Française de Canoë-Kayak), gender stereotypes linked to the discipline are confronted by the essentially masculine values of excellence in competitive sport, as demonstrated by two posters created for two international competitions. A plastic, iconographic and iconological analysis of these two images shows that, on the one hand, representation of excellence is symbolized by the deification of the spectra (Barthes, 1981), expressed in warlike attributes that echo Coubertin’s standards for sport, and, on the other, that the female aspect of this idea is tempered in comparison to its male counterpart.


  • canoeing
  • deification
  • gender
  • image
  • poster
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