As Olympians compete for gold after decades of single-minded hard work and dedication, it is easy to see how the Olympic work ethic could inspire entrepreneurs, present and future.
But what happens to those entrepreneurial comparisons after the olympic flame is extinguished? For a growing number of Olympians, entrepreneurship is the perfect follow-up to their Olympic career.
This week, we invite you to meet a handful of Olympians who are inspiring future athletes and future entrepreneurs alike.
Track and field phenomenon Michael Johnson may have retired his golden racing flats, but he is far from retiring. The successful entrepreneur behind two business, Michael Johnson Motivation, a motivational speaking company, and Michael Johnson Performance, a training facility for children and adult athletes, Mr. Johnson said that he “has always been interested in business an... That interest is paying off: Michael Johnson Performance has plans to open a UK training center next year.
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci was the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 in an Olympics gymnastics event in 1976. But it is the impact that she is having on young gymnasts today which is truly shaping the future of her sport. With her husband, US gymnast Bart Conner, Ms. Comaneci co-founded Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, a gymnastics training center in Oklahoma, USA. Ms. Comaneci is also co-editor of International Gymnast magazine, in addition to holding vice-chair and vice-president positions on the boards of the International Special Olympics and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. It is another all-around best for this star businesswoman.
Opening athletic training centers is not the only route to post-Olympic entrepreneurial glory, a fact that Track and Field Olympian Andrew Hermann knows well. After appearing in the 2000 Olympics, Mr. Hermann launched two succ...: La Cuisine Gourmet, a boutique luxury kitchen appliances store, and LCi Distributors, a distributor of high-end kitchen appliances.
While training for the 1992 Olympics as a rower, Ms. Mazzio was liv..., but decided a career change was in order after returning from Barcelona. Ms. Mazzio continued at her firm while attending film school, finally leaving to found the film-production company 50 Eggs. Ms. Mazzio and her husband started working on their first film, A Hero For Daisy, in 1996 and the company was fully incorporated in 2000. Today, 50 Eggs produces one to two big films per year. “My athletic career was littered with failure, and I really learned not to be dissuaded by it and to concentrate, which has really helped in business,” Ms. Mazzio said.
We look forward to witnessing the entrepreneurial endeavors of Gulf Olympians in the coming years. Perhaps Emirati footballer Hamdan Al Kamali will open a football training academy?
In the meantime, we wish all of the athletes competing in London this month the best of luck in the 2012 Summer Games.
A special thanks to Katie Morell, who interviewed Michael Johnson and Mary Mazzio, here.
- Mary Ames
Educational Programs Manager//Shelter Dubai
Image available under CC License by Elliott Brown