By Paul Osborne

Argentina will continue to run the IOC Athlete Career Programme until at least 2016 ©COAThe Athlete Career Programme is set to continue in Argentina until at least 2016 following an agreement signed at the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) headquarters.

Argentine athletes have been benefitting from the Programme since it was first brought to the South American nation in 2008, and, following the signing Ceremony athletes will continue to do so until at least 2016.

The Programme provides athletes with the support needed to develop the skills and education needed to find suitable jobs come the end of their sporting careers.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) felt it necessary, due to the relatively short career span of top sports stars, to provide athletes with the necessary guidance and tools to help successfully manage training, competition and the challenges and opportunities of day-to-day life in order to find a successful livelihood both during and after their sporting careers.

Hence, the IOC Athlete Career Programme was set up with the help of job recruitment and employment agency Adecco.

The Ceremony was attended by COA President Gerardo Werthein alongside COA Athletes' Commission President Juan Curuchet, IOC Athletes' Commission member Peter Yang, Adecco Argentina chief executive Hervé Pollet and senior vice-President for the IOC Athletes Career Programme Patrick Glennon.

A number of athletes also attended the ceremony in order to discover the benefits of the IOC Athletes Career Programme for life after their sporting careers ©COAA number of athletes also attended the ceremony in order to discover the benefits of the IOC Athletes Career Programme for life after their sporting careers ©COA

Following the signing, Werthein said: "We are very happy because over the years we were able to do many things.

"Before the success of our athletes were a little in our hands, for the things we had to provide support and who had not.

"Today they do have that support and that gives us peace of mind.

"[They] must be prepared, should give their best and if you do not win is because the other was better, not because they were not well prepared.

"While we still have a long way to go, we have taken a step forward, the trend has reversed and that makes me very happy for all athletes."

Curuchet, a six-time Argentine Olympian who won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in track cycling, added: "Prior to the signing of this programme, the COA Athletes' Commission was collected by analysing the needs of athletes and listening to their concerns.

"For a high performance athlete, who has the mind focused on a goal four years, is not easy to think of the day after [your career ends].

"It happened to me that, I stop competing because I was busy trying to find solutions to defend the rights of athletes who came back mind, but not everyone has the ability to keep your mind occupied.

"Beyond this programme we are signing with Adecco, which is an important tool, I want to invite all athletes who come to work with us.

"We're doing it, but we want to increase the job.

"And that the participation of all is necessary."

In closing the Ceremony, Glennon, with the help of a translator, added: "There are more than 15,000 athletes worldwide adhere to this programme, which helps transform the energies of the athletes in a second stage of their lives.

"It's nice to see that in Argentina are working together, the athletes, the Argentine Olympic Committee and Adecco, to assist the athlete in this transition."

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