1). Name: Inaki Gomez
2). Sport: Athletics (20km Race Walk)
3). Athletic Accomplishments:
· Olympian (2012, 2016) – finished 13th and 12th place, respectively
· Pan American Games (2015) – Silver Medal
· Canadian Record Holder (20km Race Walk) – 1:19:20
4). Academic Accomplishments:
· Law Society of British Columbia (2017)
· University of Calgary, Faculty of Law – J.D. (2015)
5). Current Role(s):
· Associate, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (Securities and Capital Markets Group) (Vancouver, BC)
· Chair, IAAF Athletes’ Commission
· Member, COC Athletes’ Commission
6). Why did you find it important/ necessary to pursue athletics and academics together?
I do not want sport to define who I am. While the pursuit of elite sport and a law degree at the same time proved challenging, I believe that it made me a better athlete and a better lawyer. Life as an athlete has an expiry date so it is necessary to plan and think ahead to what will come after sport. Education, in any form, should form part of any athletes’ planning in sport. I made sure to start my degree in Law immediately after my first Olympics in 2012 so as to have time after graduation to devote 100% of my focus and energy to sport (for a period of a year and a half).
7). What were some of the biggest challenges you experienced while you were a student-athlete:
The biggest challenge for me was being fine and feeling comfortable with the idea that there would be times when my training would suffer as a result of the demands of studying and other school obligations. Ultimately, I realized that missing a workout (or having to adjust training) was not the end of the world (contrary to what athletes generally think or are told by their coaches); luckily, I surrounded myself with a strong support team (my then partner (now wife), coach, therapists, and friends) that supported me and made it easier for me to balance the two commitments.
8). Do you have any advice to those currently pursuing or considering pursuing athletic and academics simultaneously?
Do it! Life does not pause for us, so it is important that we plan ahead (and not just in sport). As I’ve said, we have so much to give outside of sport, so it would be a real shame if we limit ourselves out fear that we cannot balance both sport and academics.