Mendoza School of Business

Some Athletes Balance Work and Olympic Goals

Published: August 3, 2016 / Author: Dahlia Bazzaz

If preparing for the biggest event in sports is a full-time job, then Olympic fencer Gerek Meinhardt has two of them. For several months last year, the two-time Olympian woke at 5 a.m. every day for two-hour workouts before heading to his technology consulting job at Deloitte & Touche LLP in San Francisco. Twelve hours later, he would be back at a fencing gym for practice.

In the Olympic world, Mr. Meinhardt is a rarity. Many athletes defer professional jobs until their competitive careers are over, drawing income from a combination of sponsorships and part-time jobs to help manage intense training schedules.

As the 554 athletes of Team USA prepare to compete in Rio de Janeiro this summer, the 26-year-old Mr. Meinhardt is among the few who are attempting the tricky feat of pursuing a professional career while training for Olympic gold.

He is ranked fourth in the world in men’s foil fencing, and the Rio Games are his last shot at the Olympics. He has been fencing since age 9, and developed an interest in IT management during college.

After an internship with Deloitte, a fourth-place team finish at the 2012 London Games and an M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Meinhardt landed his job as a risk analytics consultant last September. “I know my fencing career isn’t going to go on forever,” he said. “There are only so many hours a day I could spend training.”

Read the entire story on The Wall Street Journal website.