24 Aug The Post-Olympic Come Down
I’m proud as punch of how Team GB has performed, and as a former hockey player I couldn’t be more delighted with the result for our women’s hockey team. Returning from the Olympic bubble is a huge big mix of emotion. I knew going into the Beijing 2008 Olympics that I would be retiring from International hockey once the Olympics were over. So for me there was no debate with coaches or team mates whether I would continue on the programme. I had played in the international team for over a decade and my time at the top of the tree at the age of 32 had come to a natural end. In a way I was lucky that I chose to retire on my own terms. Many are not so lucky, they can get career ending injuries, or their coaches no longer select them.
My first 6 months of retirement was an absolute joy. I really enjoyed the freedom of not being on a World class programme. For the past 10 years I had always had coaches and team mates to answer to and had always put the team first in any decision I made. And now here I was free as a bird. It was totally liberating. I did what I wanted, whenever I wanted, with whoever I wanted, without feeling I was being judged. The first 6 months flew by in a flurry of laughter, dancing and eating. But then slowly and sneakily it became lonely, scary and very isolating.
There is no magic formula for retirement as an international athlete. And it is totally different for each athlete. I had some advice from the English Institute of Sport lifestyle advisors, but to be honest I thought I was handling retirement perfectly. I had moved to a new city to work in Sports PR, I was enjoying going out lots with friends and I met my future husband. On the outside everything looked rosey. But on the inside I was a mess. I was lost and scared. At the age of 32 I had lost my identity. I was no longer the International hockey player, I no longer had a daily goal to strive for. I had lost belonging to something special and I had lost my friends. I knew exactly who I was when I was training. I was a hardworking, committed team player who thrived in a team environment. I liked that person. Then I retired and I had to be somebody else and honestly I wasn’t sure I was going to like the new me.
The good news is that I have begun to like the new me. But it has taken about 5 years. It was a very slow process and I like so many retired athletes I had to go through some dark horrible times. I don’t know if I was buy inderal propranolol online without prescription for depressed. Maybe. I just knew life would never be as good as it was when I was travelling the world competing in a sport I adored with some of your best friends. That life was over.
I love everything about sport and watching these athletes compete in Rio has been just fantastic for them and for our national pride. I love all the back stories to the athletes and discovering new super stars. I love screaming at my TV for GB to cross the line first. I love that for two weeks of the year the nation can forget its political and financial problems and just wallow in the glory of our nation. But just remember the bubble has to burst at some time. And if you know an athlete returning from the Olympics who maybe be retiring from their sport, just be there for them even when they look like they are handling it all in their stride, because, the real world can be a terrifying place for someone who hasn’t had to live in it for a very long time.
If you are interested to speak with Jennie about her experience, or find out more about her business, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.