Initiatives aimed at helping athletes in their post-retirement careers were a prime focus of today’s meeting of the Executive Council of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) – held for the first time at ANOC’s elegantly understated new headquarters in the Olympic capital of Lausanne.
Two programs were discussed.
One – said by ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah to be not yet 100 per cent agreed – would see around 50 retired athletes offered posts around the world with Samsung, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) TOP sponsor.
The other saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between ANOC and a division of the Seoul National University.
Under this, a small number of ANOC-recommended candidates from developing countries will study at the university under its Government-subsidised so-called “Dream Together” Masters programme in sports administration.
ANOC will additionally help assist with the placement of graduates from the 18-month course, first offered in 2013, in careers and internships within National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
According to Sheikh Ahmad, “Many smaller NOCs will not have access to the same level of international expertise as their colleagues from larger NOCs…
“Working with Seoul National University will allow ANOC to offer greater opportunities to our NOCs and equip them with the tools they need to advance the sports movement within their countries and beyond.”
Joon-ho Kang, director and professor of the Dream Together programme, said South Korea was the only country to have made the transition from aid recipient to aid donor over the past 50 or so years.
So, it had decided to give something back by investing in human capital and nurturing the next generation of sports administrators.
Since athletes typically retire in their early or mid-30s, the immediate post-retirement period can be a stressful and challenging time, with support often hard to come by.
For this reason, both initiatives are likely to be monitored closely by athletes’ organisations around the world.
ANOC’s new headquarters is housed in a traditional four-storey Swiss town-house not far from the famous Palace Hotel and adjacent to the Swedish consulate.
Finished mainly in relatively low-key woods and marbles, the renovated building has a feature lift-shaft, utilising a transparent elevator picked out with tiny lights forming moving outlines of athletes in action.
ANOC already collaborates with the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) in Sochi, South Korea’s immediate predecessor as Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games host.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, insidethegames.com.