In the second of a four-part series, IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Angela Ruggiero outlines the second pillar of the commission’s new strategy: to support athlete development in their sporting and non-sporting careers
After breaking down our vision for empowering athletes in the Olympic Movement decision-making processes in my previous column, I’m turning my attention to the second of our Strategy’s four key pillars: to support athletes’ development in their sporting and non-sporting careers.
Career transition is such a massive responsibility, but there are very few organisations that are focused on helping athletes off the field of play. The primary objective for many organisations is to promote sport and win medals – but not to support athletes when they retire, or when they’re thinking about moving onto their next career.
Our Commission has been working on this for more than a decade, but we now want to build on everything that has been achieved so far to ensure that all athletes are equipped with the tools they need to develop their sporting and non-sporting careers.
Unforgettable Games-time experience
To achieve this goal, a key priority is to support organising committees (OCOGs) and their athletes’ commissions to enhance the athletes’ experience at the Olympic Games.
I’m on the PyeongChang 2018 Coordination Commission with Adam Pengilly, and we’ve been developing a new document – “The Olympic Games Guide to the Athletes’ Experience” – to give future OCOGs a roadmap for planning unforgettable Games-time experiences that can also help athletes become successful in life.
We have strong IOC AC leadership on future OCOGs – for example, Kirsty Coventry is on the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission and Yang Yang is leading the Beijing 2022 Athletes’ Commission – and with Tony Estanguet and I playing leadership roles in Paris 2024 and LA 2028 respectively, the Games-time experience will continue to be shaped by athletes’ feedback and expectations.
A flow of information
We need to improve the IOC’s information flow to athletes before, during and after the Olympic Games, and we’re developing an enhanced Athlete Engagement Strategy and communication plan to make this happen.
We will launch our Get Ready for PyeongChang pack next week to help athletes plan their Games-time experience, and at next month’s IOC International Athletes’ Forum we’ll be promoting the exciting new Athlete365 platform, which will bring all the resources you need into one place.
Games-time activations are also key, of course, and in PyeongChang you’ll be able to talk to us in person at the Athlete365 Space in the Olympic Village, where you can register your vote in the IOC AC elections.
Rights and resources
I’m really proud of the Commission’s work on career transition over the years – we’ve partnered with Adecco to deliver the Athlete Career Programme in more than 40 countries, for example – but now we want to enhance the resources available to athletes, and tailor the IOC’s athlete-focused programmes to the needs of IFs, NOCs and other athletes’ commissions.
I’m excited about having greater collaboration with Olympic Solidarity through its new Athlete Career Transition programme, while we’re also developing a Charter of Athlete Rights and Responsibilities to further support your development.
We will only be successful if we’re responsive to athletes’ needs – and serve them each and every day – and I can’t wait to explore this crucial area further with all the IF athlete representatives at next month’s Forum in Lausanne.
In the Olympic spirit,