Updated: May 16
Being an elite cross country skier takes incredible dedication and motivation, especially when you compete in all events from the Sprint to 50km, like Beijing 2022 Olympian Seve de Campo.
You would be forgiven for thinking that cross country skiers don’t have much time for anything other than training, refuelling, resting and competing. However, as de Campo explains, having a post-athlete career to work towards has actually made him a better athlete.
De Campo is in his last semester of an Engineering and Commerce degree at the Australian National University in Canberra and is working casually at PwC Australia in a consulting role.
Before settling on his chosen degrees, the now 24-year-old thought that dedicating 100% of himself to training would be his ticket to the Olympic Games, but it didn’t work out the way he planned.
“After year 12 I took a year to focus almost entirely on training, eating and sleeping in what I hoped would be the journey to an Olympic gold in Cross Country Skiing,” he explained.
“That year I learnt a lot about myself and one thing was that I actually needed study and work to complement my skiing commitments, in order to actually stay motivated and balanced for long enough to be a successful athlete.
“Now having done five years of study/work and training, the balancing act for me has become pretty efficient. The variation across the year is important, knowing that the busy times won't last forever and being prepared to work hard both in training but on the books for certain periods needs to be accepted and embraced.”
De Campo says that staying organised, prioritising sleep and maintaining strong communication with his university allowed him to succeed both in class and on the snow.
“I've been pretty lucky as a winter athlete that most of my competition season occurs during the uni summer holidays, so that saves me a bit of stress during the race season,” he said. “But I do need to be on top of things during the Australian Winter and during high volume training periods.
“I work with ANU by ensuring early and clear communication between the tutors and course convenors to best utilise the different support tools available to me as part of the Elite Athlete Scheme at ANU.
“They're continually improving but the main things would be requesting extensions when necessary and requesting special consideration for exams when needed.”
To read more about De Campo's experience as a university student-athlete continue here.
Source: Snow Australia