Over the years the AISTS has awarded a current or former athlete with financial support to help them transition in their dual or post-career. The scholarship has a value of CHF 14,000, which provides half of the tuition fee of the AISTS Master of Sports Administration programme, endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.
Previous winners of the AISTS Athlete Scholarship have included two-time US open water champion, Christine Jennings, Germany’s Olympic windsurfer Toni Wilhelm who recently competed at the Rio Olympic Games, Nigerian sprinter Enee Udo-Obong, an Olympic gold medallist in the 4x100 metres relay at Sydney 2000, as well as Ireland’s most capped international athlete and member of the women’s field hockey team, Nikki Symmons.
We will soon be announcing the 2018 scholarship winner, and with this in mind we caught up with Christine Jennings recently and ask her a few questions as to how the scholarship help kick start her new career. Christine was a USA Swimming team member and two-time national champion.
AISTS - You were the recipient of the 2016 AISTS Athlete Scholarship. In what sport were you competing in and what made you decide to pursue the AISTS MAS programme?
Christine - The AISTS Athlete Scholarship made a way for me to bridge over from a competitive swimmer at the highest level to working in sports. I was on the US National Team for 8 years and have represented Team USA from the Pan American Games, Pan Pacific Championships and 4 World Championship Teams and after much thought, despite the fact I still loved the sport, I wanted to pursue something different. The AISTS gave me an opportunity and opened a new journey in life for me, a way to always connect with sport and to give back.
AISTS - You graduated in February this year. Tell us what you have been doing with yourself.
Christine - I have been working with World Archery at the World Archery Excellence Centre since November 2016. My role entails anything related to development, from events at the Centre to developmental courses around the world. I have also been engaged in events coordination at the centre, merchandising and marketing. I work in a small team, so I get to experience a little bit of everything.
AISTS - How has life changed for you and what advice would you give to other athletes looking to transition into sports management?
Christine - Moving abroad, adjusting to a new culture, retiring from a full-time athlete a month before and starting school flipped my life upside down. One word of advice I would give to athletes thinking of pursuing sports management is that it can be difficult to change, but taking that risk to pursue a dream and overcoming that fear of stepping out is worth it. It can also become a huge monument in your life. We’ve all experienced it in sport, if I can overcome this, I can definitely overcome what’s next in life.
The AISTS will announce the 2018 Athlete Scholarship winner very soon. For more information of the AISTS scholarships go to www.aists.org/scholarships