MOSCOW, December 12 (R-Sport) - Russia launched a university program Wednesday to help ex-athletes adapt to a life after retiring from competition.
Three Olympic medalists from the worlds of ice dancing, synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics are among 22 athletes on a pilot sports management master’s course at the recently founded Russian International Olympic University in Sochi.
Pole vault world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva criticized the Russian government in October for neglecting former champions, who she said were “often left alone with their health woes.”
“All over the world, various programs exist to help athletes to adapt. Until today, we had no programs like that in Russia,” three-time Olympic synchronized swimming champion Olga Brusnikova, now a presidential advisor, said at the launch.
“Now athletes can get can get an education, get retraining, it’s great. The guys will be able to expand their horizons, get new knowledge and skills. For us, for people who’ve given their whole adult life to sports, it’s very important.”
The first class of students has been on the course for a week, and their reactions were cautiously positive.
“We’ve heard a lot of new things, we’ve been around very interesting people,” 2010 Olympic ice dance bronze medalist Maxim Shabalin, said of his time on the course.
The Russian International Olympic University was founded in 2009 as part of Russia’s preparations to host its first Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.
It started by training Olympic officials and organizers, but is now starting to broaden its remit with new sports management courses.
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