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Anna M. Jähn
Research Assistant
anna.jaehn@park.edu
Department of Psychology and Sociology
Park University
I Almost Missed the Marathon: Self-determination, Injury, and Sport Termination

This case study is about a German man named Fritz Jähn. Fritz was physically active in his youth and an achievement-striving individual who was academically and professionally accomplished. He distinguished himself as an anesthesiologist and a father, but athletic competitions had been placed on hold. In his late 30s Fritz was inspired by a German Porsche ad: "By 40 years of age, a man has to have built a house, have fathered a son, have run a marathon, and driven a Porsche." Fritz was only missing the marathon, but with dedicated training he met this goal by the age of 40. He then progressed to triathlon events followed by five Ironman competitions. His competitive endeavors were terminated after an unsuccessful hallux valgus surgery in his 40s. This case study presents the details of these events along with information related to his personality dispositions, motivation, his response to sport injury, and sport termination. Designed for a sport psychology class, Fritz's story may be brought into any course that addresses concepts of identity, personality, motivation, lifespan development, and transition from profession.