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To get to the top level in sport, athletes have to give it their all. However, sporting careers can be short. So what happens when they come to an end?
“For me it was always important to have a second plan,” says Alex Baumann, Olympic silver medallist in bobsleigh in Sochi earlier this year. “As an athlete you rely on the health of your body and as we all know that can stop from one moment to the other.”
This is where the International Olympic Committee’s Athlete Career Programme (ACP) can help. It is delivered in cooperation with Adecco, and serves to support athletes while they prepare for and go through their career transition. It provides resources and training to develop life skills and maximise their education and employment opportunities.
Zurich based Baumann joined up with the programme in 2012 via the Swiss Olympic Athlete Career Programme just after finishing his Bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences. Keen to continue training for Sochi, he also wanted to pursue his Master’s degree in food microbiology, but recognised the need to start gaining valuable work experience. He found the perfect match - an employer in the food industry willing to allow a flexible work programme that could fit around Baumann’s training and study obligations.
“It is a challenge to combine training and working of course, but you need an employer who is flexible in times. In the end it is all about planning,” he says
One Olympic silver medal and a Master’s degree later, Baumann is now fully employed by a renowned Swiss confectionery company that first gave him a chance. And the flexible work hours are still in place as Baumann continues his sports training.
“Bobsleigh is like life. There are a lot of lines and turns – it’s unpredictable. When you don’t have a second plan then it is scary to think about your life after sport career,” he says. “You need to do your preparation before.”
Learn more about the IOC Athlete Career Programme here