Frederik Deburghgraeve

16 May 2013
Athlete Stories

Swimming, Belgium 

Frederik Deburghgraeve - Swimming, Belgium IOC / Belga

Being a record-breaking Olympic swimming champion is no guarantee of a career in the ‘fast lane’ after retiring from elite sports competition. Despite winning the 100m breaststroke gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, numerous World and European Championships and breaking three world records, Belgium’s Frederik Deburghgraeve, born June 1973, highlights one of the key challenges athletes can face, “Many potential employers struggle to look beyond the sporting success to see the qualities an athlete can bring to conventional roles.” 

Since retiring from competition in 2000, Frederik fought hard to establish a career in sales, but in 2011 turned to the IOC Athlete Career Programme for career guidance and support in searching for work. Despite participating in the IOC ACP a decade after he retired, Frederik appreciates the programme’s value, “The hunger and ambition to win is something I have taken from sport into my mainstream career. My Adecco ACP manager helped me communicate that effectively in interviews. He also connected me to a broader array of job opportunities, helping me step-up my career.” 

Although participating in the IOC Athlete Career Programme came later to Frederik than most, he urges fellow athletes to get involved, “Start the programme during, not after, your sports career.  Retirement from sport might just be around the corner due to factors beyond your control, such as injuries.” 

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