COC Hosts Post Olympic Excellence Series this Weekend

Workshops Help Olympians Prepare for Life after Competition

As part of its commitment to help high performance athletes in all facets of their lives, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) will this weekend run a program that helps Olympians plan and prepare for life after sport.

The Post Olympic Excellence Series (POES) will run from Oct. 24 to 26 at the Kingbridge Centre at 12750 Jane Street in King City, Ontario. The COC will host 31 Olympians who competed in Beijing, with workshops and featured speakers designed to offer tools and information to prepare them for the next chapter in their lives.

“The COC knows the value of assisting athletes with their preparation to compete in their sport careers as well as their careers outside the world of sport,” said event organizer and two-time Olympian Molly Killingbeck, a 1984 silver medallist in the 4×400 m relay.

“This weekend is free to all Beijing Olympians in appreciation of their contribution to sport and continued pursuit of excellence. The athletes who take the time to plan and prepare for their retirement, either soon or in the future, should have a smooth transition and the resources to overcome any challenges.”

Workshops are geared toward helping athletes prepare for every career decision and professional engagement with the same spirit they prepare for major sport competitions. One workshop explores how to manage change and transition while another examines psychological aspects of life after competition. One focuses on managing finances, another on the skills involved for job applications and career building. And since many Olympians take to public speaking, one workshop details the craft of speechwriting.

Athletes already have valuable skills acquired through their Olympic experiences. The POES seminars help them realize their skills in teamwork, stress and time management, goal setting, dealing with expectations, handling pressure and many others transferrable anywhere else. The COC helps plant the seed to see what the future holds.

This follows similar transition workshops following the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. This year it is organized by a team of Olympians who have successfully made such a transition – cyclist Curt Harnett, gymnast Mathieu Turgeon, swimmer Joanne Malar and rower Alison Korn. The featured guest speaker is Mark Tewksbury, a legendary Canadian swimmer who has won three Olympic medals – including gold in backstroke at the 1992 Olympic Games. Many Olympians who have already made the transition will be on hand to share their stories as well.

The COC’s POES program is one of many resources that exist in Olympic and sport communities in Canada to help Olympians succeed long after their podium pursuits.