Giving and remaining the best
Frank Fredericks, Peter Van Den Hoogenband and Mike Boit shared their first-hand experience, opining on what it takes to be successful in sport and in post-athletic life. Former swimming star Van Den Hoogenband, better known as the “Flying Dutchman”, has always been led by the following principles during, as well as after, his sporting career: What am I good at? How do I get better? How do I become the best? How do I remain the best? Indeed, this strategy has worked well for him - Van Den Hoogeband is a three-time Olympic champion and is now working as Tournament Director for the European Youth Olympic Festival to be held in Utrecht (Netherlands) in 2013.
Spreading the word about the ACP
Other athletes who may need external advice on how to manage their education alongside their sporting career can benefit from the IOC’s Athlete Career Programme (ACP). Frank Fredericks, Olympic silver medallist and former Chairman of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, explained that the IOC ACP was launched in 2005 to help elite athletes successfully manage training, competition and the challenges and opportunities of day-to-day life. It focuses on three fields: education, life skills and employment. Since its inception, the IOC ACP has reached more than 10,000 athletes in over 100 countries.
Champion on and off the field
One thing is for certain: skills obtained during an athletic career are of benefit outside the sporting arena as well. “I attribute all the positive life experiences that I have highlighted to the journey which began at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where I won the bronze medal in the 800 metres and came fourth in the 1500 metres”, said Mike Boit during the conference. He added: “It is also the upbringing I received from my parents, who inculcated in me the sense of responsibility, caring and commitment.”
Engaging the family
The athlete’s family is, of course, a key part of his or her entourage. Olympic pole vault champion Sergey Bubka and the world road race record holder over 5 kilometres and 10 miles, Lornah Kipalagat, spoke about the important role of the family in preparing the athlete for optimum performances on and off the playing field. Sergey Bubka, a father as well as an Olympian, is heading up the IOC’s Entourage Commission, which deals with matters concerning the relationship between athletes, coaches, managers, sponsors and all other stakeholders that support athletes.
Read more about the athletes’ entourage and guidelines of conduct here