A lesson in economics with Italy’s Olympic archers

9 December 2016
Rome (ITA)
Athletes and students drew parallels between a life in business and life as a world-class athlete.

On 23 November at the LUISS Guido Carlo University of Rome, Italy’s Olympic and Paralympic archery teams and students at the institute participated in an initiative called ‘Traiettorie Parallele – L’economia aziendale ed il tiro con l’arco’. (In English: Parallel Trajectories: Business Economics and Archery.)

The conference, organised by Professor of Business Economics Fabrizo Di Lazzaro in cooperation with FITArco, saw academics and athletes debate the similarities between the two seemingly-unrelated disciplines.

Subjects touched upon included training in decision making, organisational management, the need to obtain balance and similarities in the life cycles of each.

Olympian Claudia Mandia was the first athlete to speak.

“Every individual could be compared to a business,” she said. “As each individual grows, he or she absorbs information that surrounds them. Their identity is formed by combining natural tendencies with all they have absorbed.”

“At times, individuals must err, in order to learn from the trials of life.”

Mandia explained her journey into archery, and highlighted the setback of not being selected for the Italian team during pre-Olympic training.

“I saw it as a failure, and I even considered quitting,” she explained. “But I came back to Rome and I continued training. Thanks to the support of my coach, my brother [Massimiliano Mandia] and the Fiamme Azzure sporting group, I was able to overcome these challenges, as well as my own frustration.”

Claudia eventually qualified for the Games and was part of the Italian women’s team that finished fourth.

Olympian Guendalina Sartori and Paralympians Eleonora Sarti and Paolo Cancelli, plus coach Fabio Olivieri, all shared their experiences. Olivieri spoke about the role of a mentor in supporting athletes as they learn through defeat and the importance of creating the culture of champions.

Ten-time World Archery Champion Natalia Valeeva gave the final word.

“During my long career, I have seen and lived through many changes, from rules to equipment, not least the birth of my children, which revolutionised my life,” Valeeva said. “Adapting to these changes was far from easy, but as in all aspects of life, there are two sides to every coin.”

“My entire career is founded on an immense amount of hard work, but also the sense of satisfaction in my achievements.”

“That is something that nobody can ever take from me.”

Thanks to Guido Lo Giudice and Massimo Nardinocchi, FITArco and LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome.

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