Athlete’s Retirement in America Vs Other Countries
September 30, 2018
Fans inevitably express feelings of sadness when their most idolized athletes say goodbye to the world of competition. After all the fame comes the life of retirement. However, retirement varies for every athlete, not only because of the sport they play, but because of the the country they live in.
Life and success for American athletes does not stop at retirement. Many athletes jump right into new business ventures after their careers because of the capitalist economy. This creates room for investments allowing them to become very successful entrepreneurs. For instance, former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal’s life after retirement has consisted of ownership of fitness gyms, restaurants and real estate. O’Neal owns 40 gyms, has stakes in residential and commercial properties and owns a total of 155 Five Guys locations.
Some American athletes gain more popularity after retirement than with their former professional sports careers. The reasoning behind this is because of the amount of money they start to make from their new ventures. The tendency of athletes pursuing business ventures after sport careers remains a uniquely American trait.
Athletes from foreign countries do not generally have the same goals as retired American athletes. According to Sport news Ireland, Usain Bolt, won 19 championships with gold medals during his Olympic track career. He brought the victories back home to Jamaica, dating all the way back to 2009 World Championships. During his interview, he was asked about his future plans off the track field, Bolt simply stated how he looked forward to free time. He shared that from a very young age, track was all that he knew and now he just wanted to have fun and relax in his retirement.
When athletes publically announce their retirement, the press and fans continually ask if they will ever return back to their sport. Some athletes have confidence in stating that they will not return; however, other athletes might originally plan not to return but eventually come back to the field. Some athletes struggle with figuring out what to do when entering retirement. This transition can be so difficult that there are programs such as the International Olympic Committee Athlete Career Education Program, which focuses on directing athletes to towards education and finding a new career.
Athletes are very dedicated to their sport, because it is more than just an activity or a hobby, it was their everyday job. Athletes spend their whole lives practicing the same sport and putting their blood, sweat and tears into it. So, when faced with retirement, it is a considerable struggle, because some athletes might not have the information they need to try other ventures and invest their time doing something they have never tried before.