Olympic Champion Kim Brennan on working & studying whilst an elite athlete
Olympic Champion sculler, Kim Brennan says that working while an elite athlete is tough but believes that her dual pathway brought out the best in her. Brennan worked for EY as a technology officer whilst pursuing a career that included a gold at Rio, silver in London, gold at the 2013 & 2015 World Championships and three silvers at World Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2014.
“I don’t think I would have rowed past the 2008 Olympics if I didn’t have my work and study on the side,” Brennan said in advance of the Crossing the Line Summit where she will be speaking in November. “As much as I loved rowing, sport can be such a rollercoaster journey. Having the leveller of study and work gave me the ability to ride out low points and better enjoy the highs.”
Brennan admits it hadn’t been all plain sailing for her. She says she found the final year at university the hardest. Whilst finishing her degree she was working part-time as Communications Manager at Athletics Victoria and also training eight hours a day in Canberra.
Brennan says that it was important to her to have an income to supplement her funding. She says, “But more than that, having work outside of training kept me challenged, helped me continue to grow and gave me the confidence that if my sporting career ended tomorrow, I would have something to fall back on”.
Inevitably there were clashes between work, rowing and study but to minimise these she would take a week of leave just prior to major regattas. “It is hard to concentrate when you’re really nervous,” Brennan said. “I always tried to plan my life so the parts would work together best. This meant not setting unrealistic expectations with work, but also knowing what circumstances I needed to be able to train and perform at my best.”
Kim Brennan will be speaking at the Crossing the Line Summit in Sydney on November 10, 2017.