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Life after skiing career

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Interesting article in NY Times about Hannah Kearney, who can be arguably considered the dominant mogul skier of her generation.  

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/sports/retiring-skier-prepares-for-a-different-type-of-moguls.html

post #2 of 9

Tamara McKinney is a real estate broker in the Tahoe area. A friend of mine has a son who was on the US Ski Team--never made the A team--and is now a race coach. I suspect a lot of ex ski competitors stay involved in coaching or in the ski industry in one way or another, since the majority of them come from ski towns. 

post #3 of 9

Not exactly a ton of money in coaching skiing either. 

 

I'd like to see USSA at least setting up some kind of health insurance fund for these athletes, kind of like what the NFL is doing.

post #4 of 9

Nice article. It could also be titled "Life after olympics". Most olympic sports are amateur sports. As is for any profession, if you are the best of the best, there is always money as long as you keep doing your job but some sports like half-pipe and gymnastics, the winning athletes are very young. At the ages they should be getting ready to finish their high schools and applying to colleges, these athletes are competing in the world championships, olympics, etc. Long long hours of preparation and both mentally and physically. When they are realizing their careers are getting close to be over, their peers already have college degrees and are ahead of them.

 

I don't have a definite answer what is the best way to prepare these young athletes for what's ahead of them but at least the sports federations can also provide awards in scholarship funds (for more world renowned-universities than small sized community colleges) along with the other cash prizes. It is hard for an 18 year old to decide how to invest the prize money. Some will go ahead and buy a sports car, some will keep it in the college fund. If the athlete does not want to go college it is fine, maybe he/she can cash that money let's say 10 years after the award not immediately, but at least in her case, she could have continued her studies at Dartmouth.

post #5 of 9

Nice article.  This quote:

 

Quote:
“If you continue doing something you’ve done for such a long time, you can’t really grow in other ways,” Kearney said. “At this point, while I almost don’t want to, I know I need to, and the only way I’ll be able to do that is free up all this time I’ve been putting into skiing and put that time into growing as a person.”

 

makes me think that Hannah is going to be just fine.  Seems like she has a good head on her shoulders.

 

I admit to having never really thought about what becomes of former professional skiers...  I guess I always figured that most of them stayed in the ski industry in some way.  Coaching, ambassadors for their "home" resorts, etc.

 

Embarking on a total career change -- i.e., Tamara is now in real-estate, Eric Heiden (remember him?) is now an orthopedic surgeon, etc. -- seems really, really scary.

post #6 of 9

Reminds me of my college years as a distance runner.  The best guy on the team (ran two miles in 8:40) kept competing after college while the rest of us entered the regular work force.  He also began as an assistant track coach and eventually head cross country coach at our university and had some kind of job in the sports department.  Intellectually he was our equal, but financially he fell farther and farther behind us and in his late 30's left coaching/university employment and moved near relatives in Texas.  

 

For me this topic is somewhat related to the thread on why accomplished skiers give up the sport.  Part of the burnout of very serious athletes is a sort of resentment about falling behind contemporaries in normal milestones of life.   

post #7 of 9

Another career path--most gifted athlete I ever knew personally was Joe Horn. He was an All-American lacrosse player at Oberlin. After he got his PhD he returned to Oberlin to teach. They already had a lacrosse coach but needed a hockey coach. Joe had never been on skates in his life, but he got himself a pair, a stick and a puck and in 5 days he could outplay anyone on the team. He was the kind of guy who took klutzes like me under his wing, not like the usual coach who favors the gifted athletes. I took skating, hockey, and soccer classes from him and got more out of those classes than any others I took in college. (I also played IM hockey against him; I saw a different side of him when I was reffing a game and called him for charging.) After a while he got tired of teaching clumsy, over-intellectual college kids and got a job teaching PE to special education students in an Elyria, OH high school. He was an athlete with the skills for the world stage but he chose to go where he was needed.

 

Dan Bunz of the 49ers, known for his two successive game-saving goal line tackles in a Super Bowl and who owns a successful restaurant near Sacramento, chooses to keep teaching PE to middle school students. My kid took PE from him. I've seen the kids in that school out running laps for time. He is committed to getting those kids into shape.

post #8 of 9

I remember reading an article where Hannah could not get student loans since she had too much money in her retirement accounts. (She was investing wisely.) She wound up withdrawing her 401K to pay for tuition for Dartmouth. I'm glad she's going the Westminster College route. A lot of athletes have gotten their degrees there or at least their core requirements and transferred to another university. They primarily have gone during the summer. Ashley Caldwell (aerialist) had two knee injuries and finished her degree online at SUNY in less than 4 years.

 

I'm frustrated with the perception that Olympians--especially gold medalists--are "set for life". The competitors are lucky if they don't come out of their careers in debt.

 

The US Ski Team latest drive for funding is trying to get people to contribute via RallyMe to individual competitors or to the team as a whole. I don't think they're doing the best job educating the public how much funds are needed and how the majority of the team foots a lot of their own travel and training expenses.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Another career path--most gifted athlete I ever knew personally was Joe Horn. He was an All-American lacrosse player at Oberlin. After he got his PhD he returned to Oberlin to teach. They already had a lacrosse coach but needed a hockey coach. Joe had never been on skates in his life, but he got himself a pair, a stick and a puck and in 5 days he could outplay anyone on the team. He was the kind of guy who took klutzes like me under his wing, not like the usual coach who favors the gifted athletes. I took skating, hockey, and soccer classes from him and got more out of those classes than any others I took in college. (I also played IM hockey against him; I saw a different side of him when I was reffing a game and called him for charging.) After a while he got tired of teaching clumsy, over-intellectual college kids and got a job teaching PE to special education students in an Elyria, OH high school. He was an athlete with the skills for the world stage but he chose to go where he was needed.

 

Dan Bunz of the 49ers, known for his two successive game-saving goal line tackles in a Super Bowl and who owns a successful restaurant near Sacramento, chooses to keep teaching PE to middle school students. My kid took PE from him. I've seen the kids in that school out running laps for time. He is committed to getting those kids into shape.

The best runner I ever competed against (from way, way back in the pack) was Tony Waldrop, world indoor mile record setter in 1974 from UNC in 3:55.  If you've ever heard the term "a spring in his step", this guy personified it.  He was also known for running something like 11 straight sub-4 minute miles at one point in his career and often wore a shirt that said "run for fun".  If I'm not mistaken, he abruptly quit running only about 18 months after his senior year of college.  I guess it wasn't fun anymore.  Internet reports indicate he now runs very little (bad knees). However, he stays fit in other ways and is quite successful, President of University of South Alabama. 

 

Waldrop went on to pass and beat Pre in this 1974 race:

 

Academic with PH.D

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