The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) presents the ‘Office of Attention to the Athlete’, working closely with UCAM with the goal to promote the double career (academic career and athlete career) of the great champions
Pedro Sánchez, Alejandro Blanco and José Luis Mendoza stepped in the office of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) before an auditorium filled with high-level athletes, the reason of the gathering being the presentation of the ‘Office of Attention to the Athlete’ of the Committee. The president of UCAM shared the services the university has available to the Committee, a work that was widely praised, especially the double career model, which allows athletes to keep on studying without neglecting their trainings and competitions.
Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, acknowledged that “it’s time to make sports a priority, and that its role and positive influence in Spain will be acknowledged. It’s time to meet your level of effort. We will work in the public institutions to get to this level. You show us, that competence and respect are inseparable, that it’s not right to win at any price, but to pursue a clean game”.
Alejandro Blanco detailed all the areas of the ‘Office of Attention to the Athlete’ where there is psychological and legal counseling, personalized attention to the athletes, medical assistance, labour exchange, educational scholarships and formation available to all the athletes subscribed. Regarding the academic part, important role of UCAM was mentioned, as the university allows athletes to perform both academically as in their athletic careers.
Likewise, the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee thanked all the athletes for their daily efforts that they make, because “your fight is an example to everyone, and because of you, we are here, working in the present to create a future. You deserve all the support possible during your careers and outside of it”. Furthermore, he highlighted the work they are doing together with UCAM: “I think that we are a model to follow. In all the places I go, the people from the olympic movement asks me what is it that you’re doing. The formation of athletes was a idea we had since the beginning, but it was with José Luis (Mendoza) and UCAM, that the idea was boosted. We have to thank José Luis and all of the lecturer team, because thanks to them, the athletes can perform in their sport lives and at the same time, get formation for the future”. He also mentioned in his speech the need to initiate ‘University of Sports’ that UCAM and the Committee have planned in Alcorcón, asking the support of Prime Minister for the project.
The president of the Catholic University of Murcia, José Luis Mendoza, who grants the athletes subscribed to the ‘Office of Attention to the Athlete’, described his model, that besides covering the academic career of the athletes through scholarships, “gives them personalized plan of studies”. Mendoza highlighted the important investment made by UCAM “dedicated to olympic sports and professionals”.
On his part, the Sports Secretary of the State, María José Rienda, affirms that “we athletes are references and an inspiration, but the careers don’t last all life, education is essential. The athlete doesn’t want to be given anything, the athlete wants facilities to be able to combine studies”.
The act, attended by members of the International Olympic Committee, presidents of international and Spanish federations, elite athletes and most important sports authorities of Spain, was presented by the olympic basketball player Eli Pinedo and the European race walking runner-up champion, Diego García.
The boxer Rafael Lozano, the current national coach and double olympic medallist, Montse Puche, olympic basketball player and coach, and olympic tri-athlete Pilar Hidalgo, told during the presentation how the Office helped them “from one day to the other to overcome personal bumps encountered after leaving high competition behind”.
‘Office of Attention to the Athlete’ is a service provided by the Spanish Olympic Committee directed to athletes that meet with a series of requirements (forms or has formed part of the national team, etc.). Before the act, in a previous reunion, Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain, Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, and José Luis Mendoza, president of UCAM, highlighted the common compromise to support athletes and looked into strategies to make it a reality.