Olympic medallist on the benefits of preparing for life after sport

Published 4 July 2018

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Olympic silver-medallist Keri-anne Payne has spoken about the considerable challenges athletes can face once their elite careers are over, advising athletes to start their preparations for future plans as early as possible.

The 30-year-old said: ”I’d recommend not waiting until the end of your career. That’s when a lot of athletes start their preparations, leaving it until the last minute and possibly making rash decisions. They should be thinking well in advance, so for me that was three years before I retired, having a plan of what those steps are. 

"You don’t have to sacrifice your sport or training to plan for the future; the sooner you start to put the steps into place the better.

"Thinking ahead massively helps you and for me it was a good distraction. It helped me with perspective and having more than sport and the sole target of winning an Olympic medal helps to keep you grounded. It also gives you something to fall back on with something other than sport to help you."

Payne has been supported throughout her career by both UK Sport and the Performance Lifestyle programme, which aims to help an athlete combine both their sporting and non-sporting life.  

”For me, the Performance Lifestyle Team were amazing and having an advisor available to give me options helped me pursue other avenues as well as having my sport to fall back on. 

"UK Sport were able to give us opportunities with Athlete Futures Roadshows where it was great to see so many athletes being proactive. Without UK Sport and Performance Lifestyle, I’m not sure we’d all be doing quite as well both in and out of competition.”

The Athlete Futures Network aims to build a network of athlete contacts who have previously been, or are currently on, the World Class Programme with an annual programme of e-newsletters and events to regularly connect with members. 

The next Athlete Futures Roadshow is taking place at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester on the 24th October. For more information visit: http://www.uksport.gov.uk/athletefutures or contact athletefuturesnetwork@uksport.gov.uk if you would like to attend.



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