skip to content
31 May 2007
IOC News , museum-news-articles

Is there life after sport?

On Tuesday evening, at the Olympic Museum, the second Agora of the year was dedicated to the post-sports careers of athletes. From the outset a topical subject, recalled Kelly Fairweather, IOC Sports Director. He is very much involved in the Athletes Career Programme, launched in 2005 by the IOC and Adecco, a top worldwide recruitment agency.
Erika Hess: everything rolling along nicely!
On the set of the programme which will be broadcast on 5 June at 8.05 p.m. on TSR2, was a group of former athletes who have experienced, in different ways, the post-sport experience. Erika Hess, Olympic medallist, six-times world champion in Alpine skiing, today a trainer and coach for young people, decided to leave the sport at the height of her success. She had just turned 25 and simply wanted to start a family and experience other things.
Roland Collombin, the Blessed
A serious accident forced Valais (Switzerland) skier Roland Collombin, multiple World Cup winner, Olympic silver medallist in Sapporo in 1972, to put away his skis. He did it without a qualm, enjoying a good measure of recklessness until the day that, running out of financial resources and on the point of getting married, he came back down to earth and found a job.
Etienne Dagon: the hell of a swimmer
Swimming is a sport covered very little in the media. The earnings are similarly modest. Ranked among the 10 best swimmers in the world at the end of the 1980s, bronze Olympic medallist in Seoul in 1988 Etienne Dagon found himself with no financial resources from one day to the next, but with a desire to share his passion with young people. It would be eight difficult years, financially, before he became Head of the Sports Department in the Swiss city of Neuchâtel, a position he has occupied for 10 years.
Catherine Tanvier: relegated!
The most poignant story came from Catherine Tanvier, a former tennis prodigy, who, at the age of 17, found herself caught up in the “star system” and celebrity with no entourage to advise and guide her. The comedown was hard. She told of her difficult journey in a book which has just been published, entitled “Déclassée” [“Relegated”].
Athletes sensitive to the problem …
It was at the 1st IOC International Athletes’ Forum in October 2002 that the concerns and the difficulties of athletes as regards the transition from high-level sport to a normal life were at the centre of the discussions. One of the recommendations of the Forum was that “the National Olympic Committees and the National Federations should recognise that they share the responsibility of assisting athletes in managing life after sport through guidance, education and other means of communication”. Last February, the 1,000th athlete joined the IOC/Adecco Athlete Career Programme.

 Learn more about the IOC Athletes' Commission
back to top