Delivering the message

Ricardo Bendito, Athletes’ Office Coordinator for the Portuguese Athletes’ Commission, discusses the Commission’s progressive work and its commitment to leading the way in improving support for athletes.

  • The Portuguese AC puts a heavy emphasis on training and workshops for its athletes.
  • In particular, the Athlete Speakers Programme has allowed sportspeople to share their experiences with local communities.
  • This approach encourages athletes to take the initiative and be proactive when looking to improve their AC and conditions.

We’re focused on providing workshops and training for our athletes and giving them a voice and identity within the governing body. We provide counselling and technical, legal and financial support, and offer programmes such as the Athlete365 Career+ programme and our new Athlete Speakers Programme. In setting up these initiatives, we’re also hoping to show the system that our athletes need more training in these areas.

Notably, we’ve seen that athletes have a huge influence on workers and companies, which has inspired the Athlete Speakers Programme. Time management is often considered a problem for workers, but, as an example, when a triathlete speaks about how he manages training in athletics, cycling and swimming with being a medical student and a father, people are often stunned.

For this reason, among many others, we are particularly passionate about providing training for athletes to become motivational speakers and presenting them with a platform to share their experience and message with companies or children in schools.

Improving accessibility

While we’re actively encouraging our athletes to serve as role models and speak particularly to young athletes about our programmes and workshops, we’re trying to offer these in a more accessible way than ever.

We have recognised the difficulty athletes can have in participating in programmes with a busy schedule of training, studying and resting. Therefore, we are now working with the federations to deliver programmes on the training field, where the athletes are already based. If, for example, we know the Portugal national team is preparing for an event at a certain location, we will go there to deliver our message.

We have great headquarters here in Portugal, but one of our main goals is to improve the ways in which we reach out to support our athletes.

Being part of the solution

Our Athletes’ Commission is truly committed to being part of the solution. We are not only implementing programmes and workshops, but we are also presenting solutions that are good for everybody, and you can play a role in that too.

As athletes, you have a strong attitude and are frequently looking for improved conditions, but it’s also important for you to be part of the solution. Your voice matters to all NOCs and federations, and they should be able to count on you. Presenting constructive ideas and showing an enthusiasm to work in the field demonstrates your passion for change.

And, with the IOC putting athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement, it’s now easier than ever to step up and be heard with the support of your NOC.

Want to hear more about the Portuguese AC’s initiatives? Have a look at their Facebook and Instagram channels to hear more.