Maggie Hogan would not have competed in the K-1 200 and 500 metre events in Brazil had it not been for the income generated by her day job. Here she explains how hard work and help from the Adecco Group make her Olympic dream a reality. 

Financial uncertainty

“The level of funding for canoe sprint has always varied. Some years, the national team have had race expenses covered and some years we had to pay to go to World Championships out of our own pockets. In 2016 I had to fund the Olympic qualifiers for myself and my coach. Without a regular salary, I would have been able to make it to Rio because the financial burden would have been too much.”

Full-time fatigue

“I have a degree in biopsychology and I used to work full-time in the lab for pharmaceutical companies. When I first started training in canoe sprint, I was working 40-hour weeks and still getting three or four workouts in per day. I ran myself into the ground pretty quickly so I negotiated a part-time position, working 20 hours every week. I continued to work in pharmaceuticals until it became clear that I needed to travel more and more for races and training. I needed work that was more flexible because of my travel schedule. I left my job in pharmaceuticals and started substitute teaching and tutoring high school kids in maths and science.”

Helping hand

“When I started having trouble finding enough teaching work, I reached out to Adecco. They have a partnership with the USA Olympic Committee’s Athlete Career Programme and put me in touch with Angel Hall Bovee, an Athlete Career & Education (ACE) Career Coach. My year was divided between California, Florida and Oklahoma for training and then I was mostly in Europe for racing. I explained my situation to Angel, and then she called me back with the offer of a flexible, remote position with a rail logistics company called GE Transportation.”

Trains and training

“I now work about 20 hours each week for the company’s Wreck Repair Team, helping to coordinate the repair of locomotives all over the world. Usually I’ll have one or two training sessions in the morning, starting at 7:30. I’ll then work for GE between 11am and 3pm, before going back to the boathouse for two more training sessions at 3:30pm. I’ll tap back into work in the evenings or on weekends to make sure I’m on top of things. The best part is that when I travel to races, I bring work with me. Earning a pay cheque while I’m on the road makes travelling for races and training much less stressful.”

The perfect balance

“I’ve always raced my best when I’m pursuing something else in my life outside of sport. I think balance allows us to grow as people and not get too focused just on sport. It has also given me the confidence to pursue my sport as an independent athlete, which had a huge impact on successfully qualifying for Rio. No matter what happens with funding or other things out of my control, I am ready to succeed.”