The multi-talented Dr. Miriam Casillas

Miriam Casillas Garcia of Spain rides during the Women's Triathlon on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Fort Copacabana on 20 August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Miriam Casillas Garcia of Spain rides during the Women's Triathlon on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Fort Copacabana on 20 August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Away from the glitz and glamour of the Olympic Games, dozens of athletes subsidise their daily training routines by having other jobs. From farming to banking, Tokyo 2020 looks at several hopefuls aiming to make an impact next summer and what roles they have outside of competition. This week, we look at Spain's Miriam Casillas, who not only swims, pedals and runs, but also graduated as a doctor.

The deets

  • Name: Miriam Casillas
  • Age: 28
  • Country: Spain
  • Sport: Triathlon

Her athlete life

Not even her 11-year-old self could have imagined that mild scoliosis would open up a path for Miriam Casillas to become an Olympian.

Young Casillas, whose real passion back then was ballet - a sport she had practised since three years old - wasn’t really keen on swimming, although it was an effective way to treat her back pain. To compensate, her father suggested triathlon, adding cycling and running to swimming.

And that was the beginning of a 17-year journey that has seen her become Spain’s national champion, a World Cup medallist and a Rio 2016 Olympian - something she is set to repeat at Tokyo 2020. 

A key moment in her life, both from an athletic and professional standpoint, was when she moved from her hometown of Badajoz to Madrid, where she went to medical school and trained at the high-performance training centre, Joaquin Blume.

Her professional life

Olympian was not the only title Casillas won in 2016, as she graduated from medical school that same year.

“Thinking about it now that its been years since I graduated from medical school, it even seems crazy to me that I combined it with the triathlon,” Casillas said to Telva magazine.

“To me, there have been two key things: one is that I love both triathlon and medicine, so dedicating my time to them wasn’t really hard; and second was making the most of the time I had to train, study and rest.”

Another important factor that helped Casillas succeed in both areas of her life was the support of her family. 

“I’m the one who is most demanding of myself. They (my family) have always been by my side to calm me down and take things slowly, step-by-step, and not get overwhelmed”.

Despite already being a doctor, this Olympic triathlete is keen to make the most of her best athletic years, knowing that the next chapter of her life will be spent in the field of medicine. 

“I’ll continue competing for some years and when I no longer can, I will dedicate myself to medicine”, she told Hoy.