POSTED: November 10th 2014

Living Ice Hockey: How Olympic medallist Florence Schelling develops her sport on and off the rink

Swiss Bronze medal hockey player Florence Schelling / SportAccord
Swiss Bronze medal hockey player Florence Schelling / SportAccord

BRITTA WARNER / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The last time saw Florence Schelling, was in February when she was cheering about her Olympic bronze medal in women’s ice hockey at the Sochi 2014 rink.

This past week we spotted her as a speaker for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) at the SportAccord IF Forum in Lausanne. The 25 year-old, still the goalie of the Swiss women’s ice hockey team, tells how she is “married” to her sport not only as an athlete, but also because of her job.

SFC: What happened in your life between February and now?

Florence Schelling: For me, personally, a lot of things have happened since winning the bronze medal. You are all over the place, you get invited to many events, it has been really great.

SFC: How long have you been working for the IIHF?

FS: Actually I started working for the IIHF last year after I had graduated from university in the US and came back to Switzerland. Recently I changed my position in IIHF and am now involved in Business Development. So I deal mostly with the development of ice hockey as a sport which is really great for me and gave me the opportunity to present our activities to the Forum delegates.

SFC: You are still playing ice hockey for the Swiss team. How do you manage to combine your athletic career with your professional one?

FS: Well, none of us in the national team earn any money playing ice hockey, so we all go to school, are studying or working alongside playing hockey. It is definitely a tough cookie and not easy to combine the two, but with a lot of discipline, time-management and organisational skills it is doable.

SFC: I guess if there is one employer who should be supportive of your “dual career”, it is the IIHF?

FS: I am trying not to take any advantage of my personal situation and be at work as much as I can. I tell them where I am when I have to leave earlier and when that happens, the reason is always hockey. They are certainly very understanding.  

SFC: How do your experience and skills as an athlete help you in your job at IIHF?

FS: They help greatly actually. Just growing up as an ice hockey player you are always around a team and you learn how to work within a team. I obviously try to bring this into my working environment. It is sometimes tough because you realize that not all people work that way, there are some people that just can’t work within teams and who like to keep everything for themselves. But I just try to bring in as much experience as I can from my sport and improve myself as an employee.

SFC: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

FC (laughs): Most probably I won’t play any hockey any more. I always say I am happy if I know what I am doing in the next hour! Of course I set myself goals in the working place as well as an athlete and I do work hard to achieve them, but I take it more day by day. Well, let’s say I do not go ten years, I go for four years like in Olympic cycles.

SFC: What was your best experience in Sochi outside the rink?

FC: Obviously the Village is just great and the way Russia set up the Olympic Park by having all the Olympic venues next door was pretty cool. We got to see other sports which was quite unique. The whole Olympic experience alongside your sport was just a huge highlight. And I loved the weather, it was perfect. Obviously, warmer temperatures do not harm our sport.

SFC: Is there a chance we will see you playing ice hockey at the next Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018?

FC: I will definitely try to train for it, but there are a lot of younger players coming up and pushing me, so we will see. It is definitely a goal of mine!

** Britta Warner has more than ten years’ experience in the communications sector and international sports. After having worked for more than seven years and at four Olympic Games for the International Olympic Committee’s Communications Department, she recently set up her own communications agency.

Keywords · SportAccord IF Forum · Florence Schelling · Britta Warner · Sochi 2014 · ice hockey

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