Paris 2024. Top athletes and students, how they aim for “performance” at university and at the Olympics

Paris 2024. Top athletes and students, how they aim for “performance” at university and at the Olympics
Paris 2024. Top athletes and students, how they aim for “performance” at university and at the Olympics

Alongside their sporting careers, many top athletes pursue higher education. A demanding double route, which many choose to undertake in the Alps. Many establishments offer tailor-made courses, such as the University of Grenoble, the leading university in France for welcoming high-level athletes.

Capucine Viglione has just broken the French record in speed climbing at the Shanghai Olympic qualifications. His goal: to secure a place at the Paris Games this summer. At only 21 years old, she is facing a dual sporting and student challenge.

The young woman joined the prestigious Grenoble management school (GEM) two years ago. “Our year is divided into three quarters. My first two trimesters, I did them normally and the third, it is a little adjusted with the competitions that I have at the moment which take up my mind a lot”smiles the athlete.

To obtain her master’s degree, Capucine Viglione follows a five-year program, usually completed in three years by non-sporting students. “I always wanted to study after the baccalaureate”confides the young woman. At the same time, she still has to pass the selections for the Olympics.

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Capucine Viglione, who has just broken the French speed climbing record, hopes to qualify for the Paris Games.

© Dominique Semet – France Télévisions

A hectic pace of life, which requires great independence. “It requires a lot of things. You have to know how to organize yourself, be diligent because distance learning is different. It’s like in sport, seeking performance in studies is a goal.” Capucine Viglione follows her classes remotely, in a class of high-level athletes.

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GEM’s high-level sports students follow most of their courses remotely.

© Dominique Semet – France Télévisions

“I find it fascinating because it’s a special bond that we have with the studentsshares Laure Prenat-Experton, teacher of corporate finance at GEM. These are students who generally have a lot to say, who still have interesting courses. It’s a dream audience for a teacher!”

Around thirty high-level student athletes are competing for the Paris Games. A pride for the establishment. “We know that athletes will develop specific skills in terms of interpersonal skills: questions of commitment, determination, organization, teamwork… We must also be able to give them a wealth of knowledge”details Agnès Angelier, head of the institute and management program at GEM.

Grenoble Alpes University (UGA) also offers courses adapted to young athletes. Among students selected for the Olympiads, Faysal Sawadogo. He will defend the colors of Burkina Faso, his native country, during the taekwondo events. For four years, he has been studying eco-management at UGA, with a tailor-made schedule. “The program that UGA offered to high-level athletes really appealed to me because it can be adapted to my professional career.”

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Born in Burkina Faso, Faysal Sawadogo is preparing for the Olympics in Nuremberg, alongside his studies at UGA.

© Faysal Sawadogo

A strategy that has paid off, since the University of Grenoble has managed to obtain 29 medals, all sports combined, since the Sochi Games (Korea) in 2014. “We represented a quarter of the French team and a third of the medals of the French team with our students who graduated two years ago”tell Philippe Giroud, director of the service for people with specific needs at UGA.

Like Margaux Nicollin, javelin thrower or Bastien Auzeil, decathlete, there are more than 600 of them studying at UGA, the leading university in France for welcoming high-level athletes.

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