Should Swiss athletes choose between university and stadium?

Swiss shooter Nina Criston quits her biology course to focus on training; She won gold and bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Key Stone / Georgios from False

One-third of the Swiss athletes who competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were students or university graduates. Outside the stadium, “regular” students are the ones who have to swing talks and high-performance sports training.

This content is published September 19, 2021 – 10:00

According to a new study by Elite Sport in Switzerland 2019, 47% of athletes between the ages of 25 and 34 have higher education qualifications (from a university or vocational college). In that age group, it is less than 5 percent of the population. But it is still very high, with former boat champion Simon Nippman leading the Swiss Olympic, Swiss sports umbrella program Elite Sport and Studies. An Olympic gold medalist himself, he successfully completed his studies in sports and geography at Basel University, earning a bachelor’s degree in five years rather than three.

As the name implies, the support program he runs is designed to enable athletes to engage in double employment. A.D. Within the framework of the program, which began in 2014, the network of 42 people is responsible for helping athletes adapt their learning needs to their learning. These contacts are spread across all Swiss universities and help athletes plan their education and careers years in advance.

Elite Sport and Studies

A.D. In 2014, the Swiss Olympic Elite Sport and Studies project was launched in collaboration with the Swiss University Sports – University Sports Club Umbrella Organization. The project It has been programmed in 2017 and has been linked to the Swiss Olympics since 2018.

Swiss Olympic and Swiss Universities: Rector Conference of Swiss Universities In 2017, they signed a statement. Their main objectives are to promote part-time studies as an alternative, extend courses and reduce obligations for competing athletes.

A.D. In 2020, the two organizations signed a second statement, adding a time and space-free distance training option that works well with VV’s research conditions.

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SWI Why was there no organized support for student athletes in Switzerland a few years ago?

Simon Nipman – In the past, student athletes were extremely dominant. During my studies, I noticed that there was no difference between high school students in Switzerland, hobbies, or academics. They were all considered part-time jobs. In addition to their education, the athletes were fully organized to spend time training for their sport.

In other parts of the world, where sports are considered a profession, the sport is becoming more and more popular.

SWI: What is the most common question asked by young athletes?

SN: The most common question is: “I do sports at the national or international level. What kind of diploma course for me? ”

Of course, I can’t give a general answer, for example, all athletes can study business or law. I have to look at each case individually. It depends on the field of study that the athletes want, their sports interests, but where they train and the flexibility of the relevant university.

SWI: What is the main support you can provide to student athletes?

SN: Preliminary plan. This means just starting to combine competitive sports with research. For example, you need to identify the levels that the studies often require and the highest levels of training.

The best way to get a diploma is to plan carefully – the plan can be revised every six months.

Our main task is to let athletes know that they need to plan and that there are different people on the two track that can help them.

SWI – Analysis of the 2018 Swiss Olympic study At the top of the game, when athletes enter university, they are rarely registered as athletes or women.

SN: We are having two problems. On the one hand, we do not have access to information about all athletes in their education; Universities, on the other hand, do not always know which students will participate in competitive sports. We have a lot of potential to improve in this area.

What we are trying to do is to inform as many competing athletes as possible through news magazines, sports clubs or other channels.

We have noticed that there is often a desire to change between student athletes and young athletes in high school. If athletes talk to each other, there are fewer restrictions on asking simple questions than at a university official. We created an online platform to facilitate this exchange.

SWI: The 2020 Olympics statement by the Swiss Olympic and Swiss Universities makes it clear that not all sports are compatible with all academic courses. Which combination of sports and study are particularly difficult?

SN: I find it hard to say that a particular sport never works with a particular university subject, because it is important to keep in mind that it is always a very personal choice.

But we find that summer sports athletes tend to learn remotely. The fact is that they are on the road all day and cannot attend school regularly.

In terms of subjects, the most difficult students for athletes are those who have a high level of practical work or study in a laboratory where they live for a certain period of time.

SWI – The United States and China have long led the way in the league table to win medals at the Olympics. In China, for example, competitive athletes have the option of focusing on sports and then finding a way to enter a prestigious university. Are Swiss athletes weaker than their competitors in these countries?

SN: In many cases, we think it is important to train athletes in parallel with their education. In part, there are hours when sports are not available and athletes do other things, and research is also a distraction that stimulates athletes in a unique way.

The outside world is also important for many athletes. This pulse can allow for change, enrich and stabilize. Preparing for post-professional sports is also an important point. When you stop exercising, it is important to have a second area where you can invest and grow.

Switzerland How does Switzerland rank internationally in terms of supporting student athletes?

SN: We prefer to compare ourselves to countries of the same size. There are always different approaches. In Norway, sports associations cooperate with a number of universities. So if you play one sport or another, you know that there is more or less a university affiliated with the National Association or the Olympic Committee.

In Switzerland, we want to show our network of coaches that athletes should not limit their options. We prefer to try to open all options. It is a process that we will continue to work on.

SWI: Is double engagement and studying more competitive in competitive sports, or is that a win-win situation?

S.B. – It is definitely an agreement because you cannot be 100% committed to sports and 100% to your education. You need to plan and balance. Nevertheless, I do not mean to underestimate both aspects. Studying at the same time does not mean less success in sports – it often means the opposite.

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