We are very happy to have 4-times Olympian, World, and European swimming Champion, Gordan Kožulj (44), as our ambassador.
Alongside other accolades, Berkeley alumni and now a director at Deloitte, Gordan is still very involved in sports and trying to help others.
With that said, he is a former athlete who has successfully managed the transition from his sports career to a corporate one.
We asked Gordan a few questions so that the BizniSport community can get to know him better, hint: he is awesome and very inspiring.
During your career, you managed your marketing, sponsorships, and PR, among other things. Swimming is not the same level as soccer when we look at the financials. Did you have to plan your life after sports very early because of that?
I was aware from the beginning that swimming, even when international success is reached, cannot secure long-term financial stability for an athlete.
Moreover, all athletes, even soccer players, should think about a career after sports. A sports career lasts for a relatively short period of time considering the productive life of a person So it is necessary to think about how to remain a contributing part of the family and society.
You faced the challenge of having to “integrate” back into civil life after your sports career finished. How hard was that and what did you feel during that period?
The transition from sport to “civil” life is challenging for successful athletes. Sport represents a big part of an athlete’s identity because we start with sports while still in kindergarten.
Later, with sporting success, the public perceives successful athletes exclusively through the prism of sport – because this is how they are exclusively presented in the media.
So when athletes stop doing sport, it is not easy to “detach” themselves from established internal habits and external perceptions. Thus athletes need to find new purpose, passion, and place in society after a sports career.
In your experience, how severe are athletes’ fears regarding not making it or getting injured and similar? Why is that?
For athletes, there are several obstacles in the way – tough competition, injuries, lack of support, inadequate infrastructural conditions, etc.
Therefore, one should be aware that only about 5% of athletes achieve some kind of international success. In other words, the statistical probability of success is small, and as a result, there is an objective and realistic athletes’ fear of not making it.
You tried organizing education for athletes and helping them to get ready for life after a career, e.g. how to handle finances. What did you learn from that?
We all need to learn how to manage our finances – from those who have a lot, to those who do not have enough. For example, there are many cases of successful athletes who have earned a lot of money and spent it quickly.
Those athletes need to know how to manage that money – because, the more money, the more problems. On the other hand, many top athletes (including swimmers) do not earn enough, so they need to learn how to enrich that money.
The idea of Biznisport is to help right now. Why did you decide to be part of the project?
The Biznisport has an innovative concept – it opens (former) athletes’ awareness of their competencies that are needed in the labor market, it offers them support with the creation of CV and gives them new employment opportunities as well as the ability to finance their business endeavors through blockchain
It’s great to have you as our ambassador, thank you so much for your time!
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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