Athletes and Minister back initiative to improve sport-life balance

26 Feb 2019

Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists and the Minister for Sport back new initiative to encourage athletes to improve sport-life balance and recognise the benefits of planning for a life after sport.

Double Olympic champion, Lizzy Yarnold, and five-time Paralympic gold medallist, Hannah Cockroft, are two of the four top athletes backing a new initiative, #More2Me, to help athletes develop a better balance between sport and life and recognise the benefits of planning for a life after sport.

The campaign, which is also backed by the Minister for Sport, Mims Davies MP, is designed to encourage elite athletes to develop a more-rounded identity which reflects them as a person, as well as an athlete.  It aims to prompt athletes to consider their lives’ outside of and beyond sport, whilst they are still competing and not neglect this until they are close to retirement.

Further information on #More2Me and details of how athletes can access support is available at EIS2Win.

The four athletes that have agreed to champion #More2Me come from a cross-section of summer and winter, Olympic and Paralympic sports and are at different points in their sporting careers:

  • Lizzy Yarnold is a recently retired double Olympic gold medallist in Skeleton and Great Britain’s most successful ever Winter Olympian  
  • Hannah Cockroft is a five-time Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair racing who plans to compete at Tokyo 2020
  • Kristian Thomas is a retired artistic gymnast who won a bronze medal in the team event at the London 2012 Olympics
  • Nekoda Smythe-Davis is the current world championship silver medallist in Judo and aims to represent Team GB in Tokyo 2020

The athletes will champion #More2Me in the run-up to Tokyo 2020 and front a series of initiatives to drive awareness of #More2Me amongst fellow athletes and promote the message via social media.

Lizzy Yarnold said:

I never thought of myself as just an athlete and during my career, I always aimed to strike a balance between being an athlete and having interests outside of sport.  I felt that having a life outside of sport and doing things like being involved in education or pursuing hobbies helped me to relax into being an athlete and had a positive impact on my performance.

“It is an approach I would recommend to any young athlete that has aspirations to reach the top and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that doing things like education and having things in my life other than just training and competing were all major reasons why I was successful as an athlete and achieved the things I did.”

The #More2Me campaign has the backing of the Minister for Sport and UK Sport, which funds elite sport in the UK.

The Minister for Sport, Mims Davies MP, said:

"Being a dedicated, fully focused elite athlete is hugely rewarding but can also be all-consuming. I hope this new initiative can help sportspeople use their talents so they can foster other interests too. 

"It can give them an additional sense of identity and further opportunities beyond the sport which they love, so they are not left feeling isolated when their time as a competitive athlete comes to an end.”  

The Chair of UK Sport, Dame Katherine Grainger, added: 

It is very important for athletes to have balance in their lives and the UK high-performance system works hard to provide great opportunities to ensure individuals can develop as both a performer and a person.

“My own EIS performance lifestyle advisor was instrumental in helping me create time for interests outside of sport as well as the important and challenging transition period when I started to think about life beyond high-performance sport.

“It is crucial that each individual proactively looks to the opportunities available which can provide huge benefits in both the short and the long-term.”

#More2Me has been developed by the English Institute of Sport’s (EIS) Performance Lifestyle team which delivers a personalised support service to athletes from more than 30 UK Sport funded world-class performance programmes.

EIS Performance Lifestyle services are available to more than 1,200 elite world-class funded athletes and are designed to provide them with a variety of personal and career development support opportunities.  This includes help with the process of transitioning out of sport.