“Life After Elite and Professional Sport: an even playing field?” Pioneers in Sport Forum Event


Hosted by EY on Tuesday 12th July, 8.30am, EY Offices, London Bridge

A stellar line-up of former elite and professional athletes join the panel for what promises to be a fascinating discussion. Booking is essential via email to Eddie at emarshbaum@quest.co.uk

Maggie Alphonsi: Former professional rugby player, England Women’s Rugby

Michelle Moore: Sports Consultant and Former Athlete

Ian Metcalfe: Chairman of Commonwealth Games England, Rugby Football Union Chairman

Michelle Griffith-Robinson: Former Olympic Triple Jumper, Mentor and Coach (Dame Kelly Holmes Tust)

During the panel discussion Michelle Moore will discuss her work mentoring athletes and sports coaches and what she believes it takes to support an individual to reach their potential, as well as the importance of encouraging diversity in the workplace. Ian Metcalf will then be able to give the perspective on these issues from a standpoint of a national governing body and Commonwealth Games England and someone who has played sport at an elite level while developing a parallel professional career. Also from the rugby world Maggie Alphonsi will be able to give her insights into personal and professional development, having reached the highest levels a professional sportswoman and now having launched a successful media career as a commentator, ambassador and motivational speaker. Finally Michelle Griffith-Robinson will be able to give her valuable input as someone who has reached the highest level in athletics and is now giving back to the community through her work at the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.


Many of us look at professional and elite athletes with envy, not only of their skill and talent on the field of play, but also sometimes of the corresponding fame and pay packets. Sometimes we think of those who do not quite make it, those whose careers are cut short because of injury, those who are playing elite sport alongside a full-time job, or those playing sports that do not attract the same fame and money as others. When we watch the Champions League or Wimbledon final, do we really give enough thought to what the life of these elite athletes will be like after their sporting career ends, often still at a relatively young age?

As professionals outside the sporting arena move through secondary and tertiary education and start to set up their careers in their teenage years, are elite sportspeople at a disadvantage in coming to this point many years later? What programs exist to support professional athletes with their subsequent professional careers? And how feasible is it to progress a non sporting career alongside playing elite sport.

Equally research has shown that a background in sports can help accelerate someone’s career; that elite athletes exhibit many of the hallmarks of great leaders, including determination, work ethic and the ability inspire, and that retired professional athletes have the potential to be great assets to business leadership and the corporate world. A successful and highly driven elite athlete may end their sporting career and have no idea where to turn to next, so how can we harness this potential wealth of talent and give former athletes the means to set and achieve new career goals? Also by failing to support these athletes, are we also depriving the corporate world of a more diverse leadership?