Two weeks ago, Carlijn Schoutens, long-track speed skater for the United States of America took the line in Pyeongchang, South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics. In that moment, she probably had a number of things running through her mind: the state of the ice, her race strategy and chasing a medal. Years of training, dedication and hard work added up to bring her to that moment. Another important, but perhaps less tangible factor had played a role in helping her get to the starting line of her first Winter Olympics: the power of mentorship.
Schoutens is a member of the ACE Mentor Network, one of our customer platforms. The United States Olympic Committee Athlete Career and Education Program (ACE) provides current and retired Team USA athletes with career, education and life skills resources to support their athletic performance goals, facilitate a successful transition to post-elite competition careers and inspire long-term positive engagement with the Olympic/Paralympic movement. The ACE Mentor Network is one of the many great resources offered to Team USA athletes.
As an ACE mentee, Carlijn Schoutens was matched up with Lauryn Williams, Olympian and and founder of Worth Winning, her own financial planning company, dedicated to helping other athletes manage their careers and lives after sport. In between Schoutens training sessions leading up to the Games, we had a chance to ask her a few questions about her experience talking with Williams and the role that mentors played in her Olympic journey.
When asked about how she was first matched with Williams, Schoutens responded, “Lauryn was recommended as a mentor for me by Elana [Meyers Taylor], because she also did a time trial sport and has been very successful athletically and professionally.”
Williams’ impressive Olympic resume includes four Olympic Games, three Olympic medals, and being the first American woman to medal at both the Winter and Summer Games. To learn more about Williams and her passion for financial planning, read her interview with the Women’s Sports Foundation.
“We first talked [before Olympic Trials] when I realized that I was going to do things this year that I had never done before,” said Schoutens. “I was interested to learn about the added challenges at Olympic Trials compared to normal racing, and how best to deal with those. Lauryn told me about her many Olympic Trials experiences and how she was able to race as well there as at a regular competition.”
“We talked about preparing for each challenge by making mental plans and practical arrangements. It made me feel more in control of my competition and I was able to perform well and have a lot of fun. Lauryn was available in the week of my Trials and we called and texted back and forth a lot. Thanks Lauryn!”
Schoutens and Williams’ mentorship relationship helped create a support system for her to lean up during the lead-up to the Olympic Trials and continued throughout her preparation for the Winter Games.
Schoutens was particularly impressed by the different type of mentorship she experienced with fellow Olympian Lauryn. “I’ve mostly had coaches, teachers and parents as mentors in my career, but having a fellow athlete by my side was different and awesome.”
BRONZE MEDAL!!! So much joy. Feeling very proud and lucky to be a part of this team. Huge thanks to everyone who helped make it possible. #teamusa #usspeedskating#Olympics2018 #PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/eIAIVnqoqX— Carlijn Schoutens (@CarIijn) February 21, 2018
Congratulations to Carlijn Schoutens and the rest of Team USA at last month’s Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. To keep up with Carlijn on her Olympic journey and see what’s next, follow her on Twitter and Instagram. We look forward to cheering on the U.S. Paralympic Team which will start competing in South Korea this weekend.