Forum on athletes’ career development concludes with renewed zeal for 2020

19 Jun 2017
IOC News Athletes

Exchanging personal experiences, challenges and tools on the best ways to support athletes combining dual careers and undergoing career transitions, the 8th IOC Athlete Career Programme (ACP) Forum, held in cooperation with The Adecco Group from 15 to 17 June, concluded with renewed ambition, an updated ACP strategy and targets for 2020.

Recognising that combining sport with education or work has become increasingly challenging for athletes, the Forum participants wrapped up three days of discussions and exchanges determined to overturn this trend. Their pledge for the next three years, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the ACP strategy, is to:

  • Increase job placements for athletes, with the aim of achieving a minimum of 1,000 athlete placements by 2020;
  • Pursue efforts to support and empower various Athletes’ Commissions;
  • Continue to provide and increase training opportunities;
  • Develop mentorship programmes;
  • Organise annual network events and establish hiring targets;
  • Expand networks to include all Olympic Movement stakeholders so as to encourage them to develop and engage in athlete career initiatives; and
  • Enhance promotion of the ACP as well as enable tailoring of the Programme for local markets.
Over the last few days, we have enjoyed great engagement, and we now want to build on this, to continue finding the best ways to support our fellow colleagues going through their career transition. Kirsty Coventry IOC Athletes’ Commission

“Our future objectives are to maximise the global reach and peer-to-peer engagement for the delivery of the ACP, for instance by ensuring that National Olympic Committees (NOCs), International Federations (IFs) and their respective Athletes’ Commissions as well as other stakeholders are equipped with the necessary resources and training opportunities”, states Kirsty Coventry, seven-time Olympic medallist and a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Following her retirement from competitive swimming last year, Coventry is sensitive to her peers’ predicament, adding: “Over the last few days, we have enjoyed great engagement, and we now want to build on this, to continue finding the best ways to support our fellow colleagues going through their career transition.”


Patrick Glennon, the Adecco Senior Vice-President for the IOC ACP, said: “This 8th ACP Forum brought together members of the Olympic family and Adecco experts from all continents to share best practices and further define strategic Programme milestones, which ensure its relevance for athletes and help them achieve success for life.”

The athlete-centred event, hosted by the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) and the Beijing Olympic City Development Association, was attended by 87 participants from over 30 nations, representing all five continents. It brought together athletes, Olympians and members of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, career counselling experts from The Adecco Group as well as representatives from NOCs and their Athletes’ Commissions, the World Olympians Association, Visa China, Toyota and the Vice-Mayor of Beijing.

“It was my first experience of such a Forum”, explains the second Vice-President of Uruguay’s National Olympic Committee, Gustavo Coll. “I was very impressed at how we can help athletes in order to better their post-Olympic life. I was also impressed with the quality of the speakers, especially those that had participated in the Olympic Games. They expressed very well what an athlete needs after finishing their high performance sports career.”

The Forum featured numerous presentations, panel discussions, break-out sessions and impromptu experience-sharing among participants, as well as a special sport and cultural programme. Building on the legacy of the 2008 Olympic Games, the COC and the Beijing Olympic City Development Association hosted social and traditional Chinese activities in the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium.


A growing global Programme

Targeting athletes all over the world and of all ages, the ACP was created in 2005 by the IOC and The Adecco Group in collaboration with the IOC Athletes’ Commission. It initially had just over 1,000 athletes from a handful of countries participating in the programme. Today, it has reached more than 35,000 athletes from over 185 countries worldwide.

Following the launch of ACP online resources and successful Outreach Programmes and local ACP programmes in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the ACP has strengthened relations with NOCs, and, in 2016, it extended to International and National Federations in a bid to increase the reach of the Programme, support the creation of local customised programmes and overall ensure there is widespread support for athletes’ career development.

Learn more about the ACP at:

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