Latest News

Sport and performance psychology professor gives perspective on what athletes will face at the 2010 Winter Olympics

Monday, February 1, 2010

Expert says great competitors face Olympics like any other competition


DENVER – A University of Denver (DU) expert is available to comment on what the Olympic athletes will face as they compete in the 2010 games in Vancouver. Steve Portenga, a sport and performance psychologist at DU, says the Olympic games are a once in a life-time competition, but athletes cannot approach it that way.

“Ultimately the great competitors are the ones who are able to approach it and get into it the way they do every other competition,” Portenga says. “When you believe that it’s a big event, you do things different than you’ve done before. You try harder – you end up trying to compete in a way you didn’t practice.”

Portenga has been working with athletes for years. He most recently helped the USA Track and Field team this summer in Berlin at the World Championships, part of the preparation for the Olympics in 2012. He is also the director of Sport Psychology for the Division of Athletics & Recreation at DU and an adjunct professor of Sport and Performance Psychology in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP).

“Ultimately it’s about thinking right in sport,” he says. “The wrong way of thinking will hinder your performance.”

GSPP offers a Master of Arts degree in Sport and Performance Psychology. This degree is intended for individuals in the sport, performing arts, health and fitness, or mental health fields who want to develop their ability to improve the performance and lives of those with whom they work.


The University of Denver is committed to improving the human condition and engaging students and faculty in tackling the major issues of our day. The oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain West with more than 12,300 students in undergraduate and graduate study, DU is a nationally recognized research university and ranks among the top 100 Universities in the U.S.

Contact: Kristal Griffith
(303) 871-4117

Comments are closed.