The world of sport is developing extremely fast and it has been one of the rare activities with double-digit growth over the last 60 years.
But this growth has not been beneficial to all the sport stakeholders and, for the athletes, the transitioning between sport and post-competition remains complex. And sometimes personally risky.
To support the athletes and the world of sport, to promote the values of competition, courage, and perseverance, we are working with experts and sport passionate. This is why Biznisport is grateful to welcome Philippe Blanchard as a new Advisor.
Philippe is a former Director for the International Olympic Committee and is the founder and CEO of Futurous, the Games of the Future. We are confident Philippe and the other advisors will bring a lot of insights to BizniSport.
Considering that you were a director of the International Olympic Committee/IOC for several years, what are your insights on athletes transitioning between their sport and post-competition careers?
I have always been interested in sport as a major ecosystem. My first encounter with the Olympic Movement started with the Albertville Winter Games (1992).
Later on, I worked for the IOC as a consultant beginning in 2000, I then created and ran the Department of Information and Knowledge for the International Olympic Committee until mid-2011.
In terms of systems, it is important to understand that all sports present different realities: business models, organization, public policies, levels of wealth, financial perspectives for top-level athletes, reconversion opportunities…
The popularity of the sport dictates a lot but even in “rich sports”, it is globally hard for all sportsmen and sportswomen to make enough for early retirement. Most of them are already working in parallel to their sporting lives and the great majority needs to look for new sources of income once they are retiring from competitions.
There are rare exceptions for a limited number of football, golf, or tennis top players but we need to bear in mind that the vast majority of athletes will not make a long-lasting living out of their sport.
How can we tackle these difficulties?
High-level sport is extremely demanding: athletes practice intensively as soon as their early age. With rare exceptions, attending school and academic curriculum presents severe constraints, finance and organization-wise.
The Job market relies a lot on diplomas and previous experience and recruiters are not always comfortable when interviewing a former sportsperson.
Globally very little is done to support the athletes and that makes Biznisport’s initiative globally critical and relevant.
One of the reasons we are in this situation is because the business world is working in silos: per industry and per job profiles.
Sport, and particularly high-level sport, develops numerous skills which are not “qualified” with classical references (such as diploma, previous responsibilities…).
Whether we address collective or individual sports, they do present commonalities in terms of organization, perseverance, stamina, ability to try and bounce back from errors… Collective sport is also bringing team spirit, commandment…
All these skills exist but they are not labeled as such by recruiters. And sometimes even by the sportsperson itself.
What are the different levers we can use to support the athletes when they retire from their sports careers?
The main one is providing assistance and explaining what the processes are.
Athletes are used to training protocols and routines, they clearly understand rules and they have very strong mental health. We need to rely on these characteristics to explain how to conduct introspection and identify their relevant strengths for the business world.
We need to map the “sport skills” with the “business skills” because the attributes that have been developed through elite performance can prove beneficial to corporate efficiency.
I have been engaged in many communities globally and everywhere I could recognize the unique team spirit developed through sports. There is a comradery that could almost compare to a military mentality: “you have my back and I have yours”.
These virtues need to be recognized by job recruiters when they interview athletes. The proprietary CV algorithms and other features bring Biznisport a unique potential to serve the Athletes and Corporate communities.
You are running an innovative project, Futurous, which recently got the support of the Russian Federation, congratulations on that. Why in parallel do you join Biznisport as an advisor?
The world of sport is constantly evolving and we need to acknowledge we are also drivers of change. The best way to predict the future is to make it happen.
There are shared values between Futurous and Biznisport: passion, humanity, confidence, sense of action, and responsibility.
I am honored by the recognition of the Russian Government and I value the responsibilities.
Working with Biznisport gives me the possibility to be active to sportspeople with a different perspective because we both acknowledge the fact that technology is a driving force for sport and for athletes. We both promote the sport in its educational ambition.
Thank you so much for your time. Do you have anything extra you’d like to add for people reading this?
For me, we are at a tipping point now because this health crisis has supported some deeper thinking.
Beyond many disasters and dramas, it has become clearer that technology should not substitute but support human development. That’s why I think Biznisport’s mission is valuable and meaningful.
No time to waste
On our journey to raise awareness and provide a solution for the troubles athletes have to face when they give up a professional career in sports, we need as much help as we can get.
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