Being an Olympian isn’t all fun and games!
Many U.S. Olympians need to work to earn a living and provide for their families and pay for coaches, gear and practice time, so they have to arrange their training around their jobs.
Here are a few Olympians and their “day jobs.”
Quinn, a former pro football player, is the founder and CEO of The Athlete Watch, which helps students, parents, and high school coaches learn to avoid potential pitfalls of college recruiting. He’s also a MBA candidate at DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management and started The Athlete Watch to help high school athletes and parents not make the mistakes he made when he was searching for a college.
“I can relate very well, the uncertainty, the frustration, the doubt,” Quinn says on a video on the company’s website. “That’s kind of my passion behind launching The Athlete Watch, to give parents, to give student-athletes, a tool to help them in the recruiting process.”
Mental skills: He says on the Team USA website: “The opportunity I have been given to learn business strategies and then to see them mature and reap rewards in my line of work is pretty awesome. … Although I am not making the big bucks – yet — I am earning a graduate degree debt free and learning knowledge that will last a lifetime.”
There aren’t many places to practice when your specialty is the luge, so Mazdzer works at the Whiteface Lodge, which has helped him remain close to training facilities in upstate New York. Working there has helped him realize the support people when searching for and finding jobs.
Mental skills: He tells the Lake Placid News: “The Whiteface Lodge treats all the athletes very well … The Tri-Lakes has more athletes going to the Olympics per capita than any other community in the world, and has been doing so since the first winter games. This level of excellence is a result of a mix of families, facilities and community support, as exemplified by having the Whiteface Lodge behind us.”
Meyers has never stopped preparing for her future while meeting her financial needs and following her dreams of becoming an Olympic bobsledder. She’s learned to do what it takes through jobs such as being a substitute teacher, playing professional softball, blogging about health-related topics, making burritos and coaching soccer and softball teams. She already has a master’s from George Washington University, but is pursuing an MBA through DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.
Mental skills: Meyers writes on her blog: “Very few Olympic athletes make the millions you see the top most marketable athletes making,” . “Most Olympic athletes make very little money, spend most of their savings on their sport, and wrack up debt during their sport. I do not have my own house because I cannot afford it and many other Olympians don’t either in order to keep competing in their sport. The majority of us are not balling out of control and have to find creative ways to raise funds in order to keep competing in our sports.”
Cunningham, who has degrees from Monterey Peninsula College and Boise State University, found a way to train by joining the U.S. Army. He joined the New York National Guard and the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, which gives him training for potential jobs after he retires as an athlete.
Mental skills: Cunningham tells the Deseret (Utah) News: “I felt torn when my unit was deployed after Hurricane Sandy. It was not mandatory that I go and try and help, but I saw it as more of my duty as an American to help when others are in need. I was able to help, so I was going to do whatever was needed. At that point, helping families and flood victims was a little more important than my workouts for the week.