Path to PyeongChang 2018: German Olympian swaps skates for suit

9 | 9 | 2017

Among the thousands of Olympians taking part in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be German Olympian Christian Breuer. However, the Speed Skating Olympian will not be there to compete. Instead, the President of the German Olympians Association will be participating behind-the-scenes as a member of the Technical Committee of the International Skating Union (ISU).

After representing Germany at the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano and Salt Lake City, Breuer is looking forward to serving his sport once again and didn’t hesitate when the ISU approached him to be part of the Committee in 2010. Now, he is back at the Games in a different role:

“As an Olympian you go to the Olympic Games whenever you have the chance to go”, he noted.

“I’ll always remember my first Games in Nagano. The thing that has stayed with me the most from that first experience as an Olympic athlete was immersing myself in a new culture and exploring East Asian hospitality as a welcomed guest in Japan.

 I look forward to visiting this beautiful part of the world again at PyeongChang 2018.”

Having swapped the ice for the office, Breuer will be supporting several teams during the Games. Besides his official function for the ISU, he will also be active in his role as President of the German Olympians Association.

“I will be meeting with our Olympians of the German NOC, visiting the team in the Olympic Village to share our story with the new Olympians, informing them of the work that we do and letting them know how we can help support them in the future.”

Moving into sports administration is one option open to Olympians who are thinking of transitioning from competitive sport after the Games, but they need to be prepared to adapt and change.

“From my point of view, it is important to have athletes as specialists in the organisational structure, but they have to learn that the world of work is different from what they know.”

“They must get used to the fact that performance is measured differently and that you will work with people that have a different definition of what it means to perform at your best. And you definitely learn, compared to high performance sport, that time is relative.”

Breuer believes that the skills of sportsmanship honed on the track or field, swimming pool or ski slope can be applied in business in general and in the business of sport. “Olympians can enter a company or organisation with a fresh, unbiased approach, not clouded by the structures that colleagues may think of as unchangeable.”

The former speed skater emphasises the benefits of keeping Olympians involved with the Olympic Movement beyond competition. “I think it’s not only important for them, but also for the sporting federations and NOCs. Without athletes, you would lose the people who went through everything: funding, team structures, qualifications, right up to competing at the highest levels in the Olympic Games. That’s insider knowledge that you can’t buy.” 

World Olympians Association at PyeongChang 2018

World Olympians Association (WOA) is inviting all Olympians planning to attend PyeongChang 2018 to register their interest for WOA’s Olympian programmes.

Pre-registration is now open on the WOA website – sign-up today and make the most of your PyeongChang 2018 experience.

Image credit: IOC