Olympic medalist and IOC member, Claudia Bokel, today visited the Russian International Olympic University's (RIOU) state-of-the-art campus in Sochi, and gave an enlightening lecture to RIOU's Master of Sport Administration (MSA) students about career transition for athletes after retirement.
Bokel competed in three summer Olympic Games, winning a silver medal at the Athens 2004 Games in the team épée. Now, as Chair of the IOC Athletes' Commission, she is a staunch advocate of athletes preparing for life after sport whilst still competing at the highest level.
Claudia Bokel, who started serving on the IOC Athletes' Commission in 2008, said: "I am delighted to have been invited to RIOU to meet the first intake of MSA students and to see the excellent facilities which are available to them. It's great that there is an organisation at the heart of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games which is doing so much to help ambitious former elite athletes and non-athletes already employed in the sports industry to enhance their management skills and help them take their next career step. Athletes train so hard for so many years to reach the pinnacle of their sporting discipline and I firmly believe that by combining the skills they have learned on that journey with a solid education they can appropriately prepare for a very successful life after sport. Pursuing an education while competing or just after having retired is therefore of utmost importance to an athlete's life. The up-to-the-minute MSA course that RIOU offers is aligned perfectly with these important Olympic values."
RIOU Rector, Professor Lev Belousov, said: "Claudia's visit and fascinating lecture underline the strong working relationship between the IOC and RIOU and the shared objectives we have with the IOC Athletes' Commission. We are both committed to placing Olympic values at the forefront of sport business philosophy and practice. RIOU's MSA course is open to applicants from anywhere in the world and the diversity of backgrounds from which the 27 students on our inaugural course hail give our classes and discussions great breadth of opinion and ideas. Claudia's words will have rung true for several of our students who are former Olympians themselves, such as Otylia Jędrzejczak and Molly Engstrom. But her insights about athletes' priorities and principal needs during sports events are invaluable to the whole faculty of students and lecturers."