Three-time swimming Olympian Akiko Thomson-Guevara shared ‘giving it all’ as an advice to student-athletes to achieve success in academics and sports during the Online Sports Leadership Program (OSLP) last September 19 via Zoom.
Thomson-Guevara, who donned Philippine colors when she was only 12 years old, shared her journey as a young Olympian during a leadership program headed by AdDU Athletics Director Emmanuel “Noli” Ayo in partnership with the AdDU College Athletics Council and Philippine Olympians Association.
The former eighth-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist emphasized that student-athletes must have both effort and high regard for excellence to balance the workload in school and in sports.
“I really feel that what we do on a daily basis is important, it adds up and … that ethics that we put in the training. You can’t just give up to there lang. For me, it’s so important that we’re all there and wherever we are, we do our best possible job. So, just giving all our effort and pushing us to the limit,” Thomson-Guevara said.
She further stressed that student-athletes should focus not only in sports but also in academics to prepare their life ahead when retirement comes.
“But I think also it’s important that they don’t sacrifice their academics. I really think that it is possible to do both. Hopefully, you’re in a set-up where they’re [school] supportive of it and some delays may happen like Hidilyn [Diaz], she’s still finishing her college right now but it’s okay, it’s not something that she’s sacrificing.
“And I think that’s also something that I hope student-athletes really valued because they’re not gonna be athletes. I mean some will go to professional levels but not all and you can’t guarantee that,” she added.
The television host also regarded swimming as a ‘skill in life’ that made her realize the importance of the sport in all people, not just for swimmers.
“The advocacy that I’ve really latched on to is that swimming is a life skill. You never know when you’re gonna need to know how to swim. It could save your life and someone else’s life. And It doesn’t matter when you become an olympian national athlete, awesome. But for me, it’s just a skill that everyone needs to know,” she said.
Thomson-Guevara’s talk was the second batch of the four-week OSLP held every Saturday with a former Olympian as an invited speaker. The Zoom webinar aimed to create linkages for sports directors and coaches to promote a better culture in Philippine sports.