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12 Dec 2006
IOC News

Assisting athletes in their career development during and after competition

Athletes devote significant income-earning years to pursuing their Olympic dream and representing their respective countries on the world stage.  Training and competing at Olympic level is becoming more and more a full-time job which gives athletes very little time to think about traditional career once their sporting life is over.
The average age of Olympic teams is increasing (23 in 1958 versus 27 in 2006) this is delaying the implementation of competitors’ post-athletic career, and increases the possibility that they will be required to support a family during their training. After the Games, 97 per cent of athletes are unsure about their professional careers, what will happen to them psychologically and professionally.
Based on this assessment, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Adecco decided to join forces, and in 2005 launched the Athletes’ Career Programme (ACP), which endeavours to answer these questions and provide concrete solutions.
Meeting in Lausanne for two days (7 and 8 December), representatives from the IOC and Adecco addressed a series of points aimed at improving this programme.
During his opening speech, Sergey Bubka, Chairman of the IOC Athletes' Commission which initiated this programme, said: “One of the most important things in sport once you have reached the top is to aim higher, which is extremely difficult. Our common goal in the ACP is to reach higher and broader.”  
The ACP mission: enhance the life of Olympic and Paralympic athletes
The ACP mission is to assist athletes with their career development, career support and job placement. The role of the ACP is to look after the athletes at the conclusion, but also during their athletic careers through education, seminars and meetings with employers. The ACP has to be flexible to meet the career needs of athletes with a wide range of career requirements and desires. It is important to note that some members of the Steering Committee of the ACP are Olympians, and fully understand athletes’ wishes and needs.
Expansion and achievements of the ACP:
  • 1999: the Spanish NOC was the pilot NOC for the programme
  • 2000-2004: the programme was joined by Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland
  • 2005-6: the programme was officially launched with 10 new countries, and so far 1,116 athletes have found a job.
Scale of the project:
  • The IOC is working with 203 National Olympic Committees (NOC) and has the ability to coordinate with all athletes.
  • Adecco is the world’s largest human resources firm, with offices in over 88 countries, and it can offer training and job assistance.
After the ACP forum, what happens next?
The aim of the forum was to bring all countries up to speed with the programme, as some of them joined recently; share knowledge; learn about countries that are very successful with their local ACP; adapt the programme to each culture; and determine how programmes can be improved.
 The key challenges for the future are to increase the number of athletes and countries involved, even outside the Adecco territories, and to ensure that the ACP continues to meet the needs of the athletes in their respective countries.
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