Elite sport and dual careers

Studies on dual careers of athletes throughout Europe, helping young people maximise their talents in sport and education

Elite sport and dual careers

Elite athletes greatly invest into becoming the best. But after their glory days in a sport, many find out that they did not combine their sports investments with a suitable and substantial education programme. Dual careers can provide the missing link.

Winning an Olympic medal usually guarantees the champion a lifelong salary in a job in the police or military branch. These jobs however mostly provide financial security, without making full use of the real talents of these athletes. For athletes who do not become champions, there is no safety net at all. Per Olympic cycle, 120,000 to 150,000 athletes enter European society unprepared. They sacrifice twelve years of their lives to sports and therefore missed the opportunity to obtain an education degree. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences has recently issued various studies on dual careers of athletes throughout Europe, helping young people maximise their talents in sport and education.


The first report, published in early 2016, offers a set of minimum criteria that facilities and services must meet in order to successfully combine elite sports and education. In European countries that have embraced dual careers, educational institutions lead the way in creating suitable educational programmes while the sports branch lags behind. One option would be to appoint coaches in both sport and education, as in the American model. In this way, coaches are being made responsible for both tracks. Another focus point is the mobility of elite athletes with respect to their training facilities. E.g.: sailors from Luxembourg could wish to train in a country with an open sea, but still having to attend college meetings in their homeland.

Other research projects Elite Sport and Education

ICDC (innovative concepts for dual careers): researchers investigate large European rowing clubs to see how sport and education are combined within the club.
H4DC (handball for dual careers): research on how to best organise coaching of elite athletes towards the labour market within sports associations.


Professorship Elite Sport and Education
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Professor Cees Vervoorn, Professor
E-mail: c.vervoorn@hva.nl
Mobile: +31(0)6 51 072 868