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24 November 2010 | PR 10/179

Loughborough event promotes sporting success and career development

Richard Smith

Richard Smith, playing for Great Britain against Argentina  (image courtesy of Ady Kerry/EHB).

Delegates at an international conference at Loughborough have been finding out how the university is supporting elite athletes to combine sporting achievement, along with a business career or studying for a degree.

The project Athletes to Business deals with reconciling top-level sporting achievement with education and a career. The European Olympic Committee is undertaking a number of visits, and will make a set of recommendations which hope to improve provision across Europe.

How to successfully manage a dual career can be illustrated in the case of Loughborough University graduate and England & Great Britain hockey international Richard Smith.

This year Richard helped England to win a silver medal in the Champions Trophy, and played in a World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.  He also scored on his Great Britain debut, playing against Argentina this month.

During this period Richard has also been studying for an MSc in Business Analysis and Management. While he was developing as a player he also successfully completed an undergraduate degree in Maths & Sports Science, achieving a 2.1.

A number of key factors put in place by the university are helping Richard achieve in his studies and on the hockey pitch. These include receiving a 2012 scholarship, flexible study offered to elite level athletes, and work experience opportunities within the university and with top companies through his Performance LifestyleTM support from the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

As an elite athlete Richard accesses support from the English Institute of Sport (EIS). The EIS High Performance Centre based at the university provides a full range of support services including physiology, physiotherapy, medicine, strength and conditioning and Performance LifestyleTM, which looks after the personal and professional development of all athletes on World Class Programmes.

Speaking of combining a dual career Richard Smith said:

“My student and sporting experience at Loughborough has been of the highest calibre. My undergraduate degree offered me the opportunity to shape my career using my maths and problem solving skills, but also continue my interest in sport. Now I am doing an MSc in Business Analysis & Management and getting opportunities to utilise my learning with work experience that I have undertaken in the sports and business sectors.

“On the sporting front, the hockey facilities are superb and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Being involved with the Loughborough hockey set up has been brilliant: they put so much on for you, not just training on the pitch, but gym sessions and physio support as well.

“Loughborough has not only given me the opportunity to develop my academic career and work opportunities, they have also supported my sporting ambitions to play for Team GB in the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

Not only has Richard benefitted from his time at Loughborough, but in return he regularly gives something back to the university.  This includes being a performance sport mentor, supporting new students across different sports on how they in turn can combine a dual career.

The Athletes to Business project runs from January 2010 until March 2011. The event was the fourth study visit made by partners form the project, following trips to Berlin, Helsinki and Vienna. 

Full information about the project and study visits can be found at: http://www.athletestobusiness.eu

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Rob Knott
PR Officer (Sport)
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: R.A.Knott@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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