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New network for elite sport looks into top presentations

The Scandinavian Network for Elite Sport, which includes Aarhus University, is ready to hold its first seminar under the theme "Talent Development" and "Dual Career". These are two particular focus areas for the newly established network as it warms up for the Olympics in August.

On the brink of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, sports researchers and experts from Norway, Sweden and Denmark are meeting at Aarhus University to discuss how the path to gold medals and the very top level of sport can be optimised. 

They will meet at a seminar on the topics of “Talent Development” and “Dual Career". The seminar is open for all and takes place at the Department of Public Health, Section for Sport Science on 19 - 20 May.

A new network for elite sport – The Scandinavian Network for Elite Sport (SNE) – is behind the seminar. The network has been established by The University of Gothenburg, The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and Aarhus University with a view to achieving increased value and more quality in elite sport education, research and communication.


Uncovering the unconventional paths

At the seminar in May, leading sport administrators, elite and talent trainers and researchers from the three countries will meet to discuss how to find unconventional paths for recruiting the very best talents, as well as the best ways to develop them through the six to ten years that it takes to develop a top athlete:

"This is where the concept of ‘Dual Career’ comes into the picture. Research shows that top athletes who also take an education at the same time actually perform better", says the network’s project manager, former Team Denmark director Michael Andersen, who is Scandinavian special consultant at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University.


Putting knowledge into practice

The SNE seminar will present speakers from three of the most successful areas in talent development in Scandinavian sport in recent years: Norwegian women’s handball, Danish rowing and cycling. It will seek to answer the question: What did we do right in the process from recruitment to talent development? Because as Michael Andersen says: "Strong talent environments create top-level performance."

In addition, AU Elite Sport and researchers from the University of Gothenburg will talk about research into and experience of “Dual Career".

"In other words, we will take the knowledge that exists and is created at the universities and elsewhere and provide the support to actually use it in practice,” says Michael Andersen.

He adds that we do not know why top-level athletes also appear to do better after their sporting career:

"Perhaps this has to do with the life skills that they learn as sportsmen and woman, such as being targeted and having the ability to structure their lives. This is something research could help to uncover further," he says.