After the London Olympics: How are Athletes Managing theTransitions?
Karen Cogan, USOC, USA
Theme: Elite performance
Program ID: SYM-22
Presentation: October 5, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am
The Olympic Games are undoubtedly the pinnacle in an athlete’s career and are a career highlight for sport psychologists as well. It is no surprise that many past conference presentations have focused on sport psychologists’ involvement each Games and a review of memorable moments. But what happens after the Olympics, and what is sport psychology’s role? Whether athletes performed up to expectations, had disappointing performances, or fell somewhere in between those two, their lives change in the several months following the Olympics. Each athlete responds differently to the decisions and transitions with which they are faced. Those who retire experience a life transition with the potential of many uncertainties. Those who continue to train may do so with a renewed sense of purpose, particularly if they did not make the team or did not perform as they had hoped. Often sport psychology is so focused on the Games that athletes are ill-prepared for the after -effects. In addition, sport psychologists can experience a type of post-Olympic transition themselves. This presentation will focus on the months immediately following the 2012 London Games. The presenter will illustrate through case examples the reactions of three athletes: (1) an athlete who did not perform up to expectations and was making a decision about whether to train for four more years (2) an athlete who performed successfully but was unsure how to manage life after the Games, and (3) an athlete who did not make the Olympic team and began training with renewed focus for Rio. Finally, the presenter will share her own transition experience as a sport psychologist in adjusting to changes in work focus and travel after the Games.