Australian high performance school-age athletes’ can be victims of the Tall Poppy Syndrome (O’Neill. Calder & Allen, 2013). Tall Poppies are successful individuals bullied by those who are less successful in order to “normalize them.” (O’Neill, Calder &Allen, 2013). Twelve female high performance athletes interviewed from a larger study of nineteen current or former national or international high performance school- age athletes all indicated they were bullied by others. Interestingly, not one of the seven males said anything about bullying. NVivo 10 SP 6™ matrix queries was used to analyse interview data. Findings indicated all 12 females were bullied at school and this had a detrimental impact on their school life and wellbeing. No male athletes reported being bullied and their failure to mention this warrants further investigation. Anti-bullying culture that includes resilience training for talented individuals should be promoted through schools so that parents and teachers require a greater awareness of Tall Poppy Syndrome behaviors.
2015 No 2 Bullying Conference: Workplace, School and Cyber Bullying, Surfers Paradise, Australia 29-30 June 2015