IOC awards seven Australian Olympians education funding to help post-sporting transition
13 December 2017
All Australian Olympians who are currently enrolled in any training or education course were invited to nominate themselves for the Athlete Education Funding initiative with athletes assessed on their past professional experience outside of sport, objectives of their training and their career plan.
The AOC then nominated four current athletes and three retired athletes to the IOC who were awarded a share of $10,000 USD to support them in their studies.
“Being awarded the IOC Athlete Funding has been both a reward and an inspiration for me,” said Aerials Skier Samantha Wells who is currently studying a Bachelor of Health Science while pushing towards her second Winter Olympic appearance at PyeongChang.
“Firstly, it is great to be recognised, not just as an elite athlete but as a high achieving student, and as someone who has the potential to make a difference in life after sport.
“Studying part-time and online for six years to achieve a bachelors degree can seem like a long time; though taking this route has allowed me to apply my personal ethos of excellence to both my sporting career and my academic career simultaneously.
“The grant has inspired me with that last little boost of positive motivation to complete the remaining subjects towards my degree with the same momentum I’ve carried throughout my course, and has allowed me to focus a little more of my finances toward my sporting goals leading up to the Winter Games.”
While Wells is utilising the grant as she continues her sporting career, three-time Olympic walker Chris Erickson retired soon after the Rio 2016 Games and is now receiving IOC funding to support his completion of a Bachelor of Nursing.
“The grant that I’ve received has certainly helped out with the expenses that go along with study,” said Erickson who is keen to get into accident emergency before eventually becoming a paramedic.
“I’m also trying to work part time to support myself so this funding will help immensely when I need to take time off for placements and things like that.
“It can be quite difficult to make the transition from athlete life to working life as you aim to upskill yourself, so to have some extra funding along with the extra work that the AOC is putting into helping us transitioning athletes is really beneficial.”
The funding is a part of a wider strategy within both the Australian Olympic Committee and the IOC to help better support athletes as they move from competitive sport into the workforce.
“The AOC is committed to supporting our Olympians as they transition into life after sport,” said AOC CEO Matt Carroll.
“This has been a real focus throughout 2017 with athletes receiving education funding, having the opportunity to take up internships while also provide with the opportunity to be involved in a pilot mentor program that is linking transiting Olympian with Olympians who are now experts in their fields and keen to assist.”
“We are also committed to researching how we can best support our transitioning Olympians and are looking forward to developing new initiatives in association with our member sports the Australian Sports Commission and State Acadamies.”
Those athletes that received the funding for 2017 follow:
Samantha Wells - Aerials (Sochi 2014) - Undertaking a Bachelor of Health Science at the University of Tasmania.
Jesse Phillips - Canoe/Kayak (London 2012) - Undertaking a Diploma of Screen Performance at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAPPA)
Jack Rossiter - Shooting (Rio 2016) - Undertaking a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at Flinders University.
Lauren Wells - Athletics (London 2012/Rio 2016) - Undertaking a Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of Canberra.
Sam Hall - Moguls (Sochi 2014) - Undertaking a Certificate III in Carpentry at TAFE, North Beaches Campus
Nicole Parks - Moguls (Sochi 2014) - Undertaking a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Charles Sturt University.
Chris Erickson - Athletics (Beijing 2008/London 2012/Rio 2016) - Undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing at Federation University Australia