10 things retired athletes know that active ones don’t

Ato Boldon’s advice for professional athletes

Posted on March 28, 2011 by
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Former world champion Ato Boldon posted on his twitter page a list of 10 sage pieces of advice for his fellow professional track and field athletes.

For posterity’s sake, Boldon was happy for AW to compile all 10 points here. “I put these out, not because I followed them all perfectly, not to preach, but because I didn’t in some cases,” said Boldon. “I had my time, maximize yours.”

10. Save some of all that free gear you constantly give away. It will end.

9. No one ever remembers the pain, but medals are forever. Push! No pro track athlete ever died from a workout. Post-career regret sucks.

8. No one from that shoe company you love so much loves you. Romance with no finance is a nuisance. The more in love you are, the less you make.

7. The competitors you think you hate so much now will be your friends when you are retired. Dont take it that seriously. Compete without hate.

6. Figure out what job you will do next, in early or mid-career, not post career. Few get to decide when they retire, most get forced out.

5. One day you’ll awake and won’t be fast anymore. Does your career define your whole life or existence? It shouldn’t! Have a life so you dont have to go get one after.

4. Make use of the best thing about being a track athlete – the travel. Years in exotic locales, but all you know is hotels and McDonald’s is pointless. Get outside, take pictures, learn something. Experience other lands.

3. Your career is infinitely more fun with a good training group. Choose your training group wisely. Chances are if you hate your career after, it’s because you hated your training partners, bounced around to several, or had none.

2. Europe can be wild and crazy and fun… and it can also shorten your career drastically if you are incapable of not acting a damn fool there. Euro “wine and men/women” have prematurely ended many a promising career.

1. Save your money like your life depends on it (it does) and make it earn more while you are earning a lot of it. And yes, get a pro to do this. “Your cousin who’s good with money” doesn’t count.

Follow Ato Boldon on twitter @AtoBoldon.

8 Responses to “10 things retired athletes know that active ones don’t”

  1. Sanusi Turay says:

    These ten points Ato makes are absolutely on point. Thankfully, some of us have managed to move on in life with few or no regrets and if these points are truly adhered to, a lot of people would come out at the other end as much more rounded individuals with a lot to offer their immediate environs. Bravo Ato! You have once again proven to be more than just quick feet…

  2. Lynn says:

    #7 was my fave…too many aths refuse to believe thay can be BEAT!!!! The "fake" injury thing is old hahahaha

  3. bertodon says:

    good job Ato..nice to see a former athlete taking the time to mentor to the nuckleheads

    • kip says:

      life flies swiftly, there is no time like the present. A penny today is worth more than a penny tomorrow. Save it now or regret tomorrow. The sport is fragile, the contract is strong as and an individual.


  4. Troy says:

    Glad to see someone telling it like it is. Save, and think in a wise manner. When your career is over you will at least have something to cherish and live on. I just hate to hear you have to say, "Do you want fries with that"

    Thanks Atp

  5. Lynn says:

    #6-Ato I wish you would expand on this for college aths looking to go pro because I think some of these kids go pro because they don't know what to do after college. How many of them have the "realistic" times/talent to go pro? Agents get in an ear….

  6. chris whetstine says:

    Well done, Ato. Nice article. You always carried yourself with class and dignity on the circuit. I'm glad you have matriculated into this new role.
    Chris Whetstine

  7. Tito Williams says:

    Hello Ato. I appreciate your past and current life. I have been a fan of you since the mid '90s. You have inadvertently inspired me to get back into the track and field world. I was once a high school 200 and 400 meter runner but my career was cut short because of logistical reasons. After serving 10 years in the Marine Corps and combat tours in Iraq, I am now a full time graduate student. I will graduate in August with my masters in social work and I plan to work with veterans. I am seeking advise regarding the best track training for my 8 year old son. He loves the sport and I want to provide the best path for him. We live in Tampa, FL and would be honored for any opportunity.

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