- 16 May 2013
- Athlete Stories
4x100m relay, USA
Sprinter Mechelle Lewis Freeman knew that she had the dedication and focus to reach the top for Team USA. A world championship gold medal in 2007 in the 4x100 relay was followed by a stellar performance in the same discipline at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
In 2009, injury forced her to take a premature retirement, but even with a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and work experience in the same field, navigating her way ahead proved challenging.
Unsure as to her post-sporting career path, Mechelle reached out for the support of the Team USA Athlete Career Programme: “It’s a mind-set transition to navigate your way through a new path, setting and lifestyle. You need guidance through that rediscovery period, and you need people to help you clarify your skill sets and then go about transferring them. In a huge time of uncertainty, it was a huge help to have the ACP by my side. As an athlete, you always want to make something work. For the first time, I felt like an underdog going into the workplace. You have to prove that you are more than just an athlete. The ACP helped me to see what I could do with my skills.”
Through the ACP, Mechelle got an opportunity to work at The Coca-Cola Company in its Olympic Games Management group, which proved to be a win-win partnership. It gave her hands-on involvement in a wide range of sponsorship and communication activities while inspiring and motivating colleagues around her.
Mechelle adds, “Athletics taught me to overcome obstacles and break barriers. If you carry that attitude into the workplace to show what you can do, to help you troubleshoot, achieve goals and set precedents, then you will do well.”