CAREERS IN SPORT
Insightful tips from an Olympic Medalist
In the lead up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) spoke to Shelley Rudman OLY, three-time Winter Olympian and AFEC Assessor, who shared insightful tips for student-athletes to prepare for the Games.
Throughout her skeleton bobsleigh career, Shelley has experienced many setbacks. She has been severely injured, disqualified from a few events, and was not even initially selected in her national team, but she overcame all of these challenges to eventually win a silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
Shelley, what are you looking forward to most in during Beijing 2022?
“I'll definitely be watching the Skeleton events as I still have many friends competing in the event, and also my partner – Kristan is out there working with the Dutch skeleton team so I’ll be intrigued to see how everyone races. Alongside that I'll be tuning in to see how my old team mates from TEAM GB get on and also watch some of the new emerging talents come through.”
What kinds of memories does watching the Games bring back to you?
“It is such a special event to compete at and now I have stepped back from racing I appreciate everything so much more. From being around all the other Winter Olympians around the world, watching new sports, and seeing this huge event on a global scale is such an eye opener and made me learn so much in a short space of time about sport.”
You competed at a number of Olympics, how did you stay motivated to keep going and never give up?
“I think I knew deep down I could still get better at the sport and improve. After winning my medal in Turin I had really only been competing for 3 years under the guidance of a coach so considered myself quite new to the sport still. I wanted to be considered one of the best racers in the world at the sport and not a “one medal wonder” I needed to achieve more and targeted winning the Overall World cup title (which is considered the best title in our sport to achieve as you need to be consistently performing all season), I achieved that. I then set a new goal to try and win the World Championship title and also the way to achieving that goal I also won the Europeans, set track records and had a pretty good career in the sport. There were many hurdles along the way, but I managed to overcome them and keep to my objectives.”
From your experience, what is your number one tip for student-athletes trying to qualify for the Games whilst having academic commitments at school?
“Good time management! It’s very easy to feel so tired and get distracted by doing mundane things which waste time. Approach studying/academics like you would your sporting career and if it all becomes overwhelming speak to someone that can help manage the situation with you, whether it being deferred deadlines, extension work or extra tuition or assistance, there will be a solution.”
For the athletes competing, how is preparing for these Games different from any other Games?
“This has been a very difficult Olympic cycle for many athletes and their support teams due to the difficulties Covid has created world wide. In a normal Olympic cycle, athletes are primarily focused on qualifying, coming into form in time for their Olympic event and remaining injury free. This time they have had to manage travel & competition disruptions, avoiding Covid, recovering if they catch Covid and most probably the biggest concern will be to remain Covid-free around the time of the Olympics. For some athletes this will be quite a stressful time.”
What is your biggest piece of advice for the Olympians going into Beijing 2022?
“To try and enjoy the moment and take time to appreciate how incredible it has been to achieve the honour of being an Olympian.”
Shelley Rudman OLY is involved in many activities around the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and is also be one the bobsleigh skeleton experts talking on the BCC. WAoS wishes her all the best for the Games!
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