Trains and training: pairing your commute with your sporting goals

Having represented Japan at the last two Olympic Winter Games, Ami Nakamura knows the commitment it takes to compete at the highest level. Not only does she train most days, but she also completes a four-hour round trip six days a week to work as a shop assistant. In this episode of the Olympic Channel’s Day Jobs series, we follow Ami through a typical week to see how she manages to support her sporting aspirations with a full-time job.

  • Shop assistant Ami Nakamura represented Japan in ice hockey at both the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games
  • She works a six-day week to fund her sporting ambitions
  • Watch the episode to learn more and then explore Athlete365’s free-to-use Career+ resources

“Every morning I get up around 7 a.m.”

Athletes are no strangers to demanding schedules, but for ice hockey player Ami Nakamura the early starts aren’t on the rink but are necessary to get her to work on time after a two-hour commute.

Ami lives in Japan’s capital, Tokyo, but spends her days working as a shop assistant at the Anpanman Children’s Museum store in the city of Yokohama.

Despite the long journeys and an admission that she often feels exhausted, Ami hasn’t let her work stop her from pursuing her sporting goals. “As a teenager, I watched Nagano 1998 on the television. I saw the national team playing against foreign sides for the first time.

“It made me want to play on the same stage one day,” adds Ami – an ambition she fulfilled in both Sochi and PyeongChang.

During the season, Ami will train up to six times a week, but those around her are quick to draw attention to her energy and drive.

Her demanding schedule is not reflected in her day-to-day work, confirms her store manager, Yuka Tanaka: “Of all my staff, Ami lives furthest from Yokohama. I imagine there are hardships that we never see in the workplace, but she has never been late for work and she never shows her fatigue. She takes her work as seriously as ice hockey.”

In the evenings, Ami returns to Tokyo to train with her J-League club Seibu Princess Rabbits with the same vigour she commits to the museum. Her club coach, Takayuki Hattanda, admires the enthusiasm and passion that she brings onto the ice. “Ami is a mood maker and she gives momentum to the team. She changes their mood. I expect that from her.”

Are you an elite athlete interested in pursuing employment while continuing to compete at the highest level? Go to Career+ to access free-to-use, online resources on education, employment, life skills and more advice on balancing competition and career. Check out the other episodes of the Olympic Channel series Day Jobs for more inspirational examples of athletes balancing work and sport.