Understanding the Dynamics of Sport-Career Transition of Olympic Athletes


  • J Surujlal
  • Y van Zyl


Transition from elite sport to the mainstream society may be a traumatic experience for the elite athlete. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding and insight into the dynamics of the sport-career transition from the perspective of former Olympic athletes. A comprehensive literature study on sport-career transition was conducted. A qualitative approach was used to gather data from two retired Olympic athletes. Scheduled interviews with the athletes were conducted, recorded with their permission and transcribed. The interview was divided into three main sections, namely family background and life before competitive sports, life during competition and training for the Olympic Games, and life after sport and the transition to the workplace. The recorded data was converted to meaningful aspects through content analysis. The results indicate that athletes developed life skills through their participation in athletics, which they transferred to their current jobs. Both athletes indicated that they did not receive any form of retirement counselling or followed a programme in assisting them with the transition from being an elite athlete to following a different career path. It is recommended that sport-governing bodies assist athletes in planning their careers before their transition to mainstream society.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p477


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How to Cite

Understanding the Dynamics of Sport-Career Transition of Olympic Athletes. (2014). Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(20), 477. https://www.richtmann.org/journal/index.php/mjss/article/view/3756