Best Practice

WOA Grant helps establish Slovenian Olympians Tutoring Programme

10 | 12 | 2015

The Slovenian National Olympians Association (NOA) is making athlete welfare a top priority by expanding its Olympians Tutoring Programme with the help of a WOA Grant.

Now in its second year the initiative, which follows a successful pilot programme, will see Slovenian Olympians use their own knowledge and experience to help young athletes to plan for their futures beyond competitive sport.

The programme builds on the European Union strategy on Dual Careers for athletes, which sets out guidelines to ensure young sportspeople receive an education or professional training alongside their sports training.

As tutors Olympians will be asked to help young athletes manage their broader career paths and assist them to eventually make the transition from the sports field to a career outside of sport.

During the pilot programme the NOA along with its programme partner the Slovenian Olympic Committee ran a series of workshops, one on one sessions and online training for youth Olympians. They worked with clubs, trainers and other associations to develop their Dual Career programme and set up an Olympians solidarity fund to financially assist athletes wishing to further their careers through education.

Petra Robnik, an alpine skier who competed at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games and Secretary of the Slovenian Olympians Association, said:

“Our plan is to use retired Olympians in active roles with the younger athletes as we believe Olympians make effective mentors and will inspire others to take part – the concept of athletes helping other athletes, is integral to our activities.”

“We will use the IOC’s Athlete Learning Gateway and build it into our own programme to create a pathway for lifelong learning by providing the tools and knowledge needed to help athletes engage with activities outside of sport.“

Iztok Cop, a six-time Olympian including gold medal winning champion in the double sculls at Sydney 2000, Vice President of the Slovenian NOC and Head of the Rio 2016 Olympic team, said athletes need to plan in advance for their careers beyond sport:

“We believe this is a very important issue not just in Slovenia, but for athletes around the world. Through our programme we want to successfully create the conditions that will allow the development of top-class athletes, by supporting athletes to carry out their business career alongside their sporting career. In this way the sustainability and development of the sport and the support of the young, talented athletes is taken care of.

“We do not want athletes to have to choose between education and a professional sports career. Both sport and society as a whole will be better served by well-educated elite athletes who can act as positive role models for young people.”