Local Olympian carves out time for education

Pictured: Wanaka-based Olympic freestyle skier Beau-James Wells is pursuing a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise with a major in Exercise Prescription and Training at Massey University.

Wanaka-based Olympic freestyle skier Beau-James Wells is perfecting the sport of having a contingency plan. With many focused athletes working tirelessly in a professional sports career that can be met with a short shelf-life, their young retirement years can leave them in a transitional period of wondering, “what do I do now?”
Wells is no stranger to that internal dialogue, especially when an injury forced him to take a year off the snow three years ago. He decided to use the downtime to study, and now he is pursuing a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise with a major in Exercise Prescription and Training, at Massey University.
In his first year at uni, the 23-year-old Wells is preparing himself for a career path after sports. “In 2016, I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in my knee and had to take a year off to recover, so I decided to study personal training because it was something I thought I would enjoy. A year later, I became fully qualified, and I loved it so much I decided to continue studying. I’m really stoked that I’m able to study away from campus too, as it’s enabled me to start my own personal training business in Wanaka and put my studies into practice.”
Wells, who is studying from his home and working out of Snap Fitness Wanaka, said it can be hard to balance elite sport with work and study. “I was homeschooled all my life by my mother who was a teacher by trade, so I’m used to doing my work at home, he said. “As of late, it has been about finding a good work-life balance; maybe not prioritising hanging out with mates some nights, in order to get an assignment done. However, in the long run, I know it’s going to be worth it.
Wells told the Wanaka Sun that, despite being passionate about his sporting career, it is important to work on other aspects of life in order to create a well-rounded individual. “I think it builds character and makes you a more interesting person. I am a qualified personal trainer and have started my own business; this way I can still be a part of the sporting world and fitness industry because that is what I love, and I want to be doing something that I love for the rest of my life. I decided to study at Massey just to further my learning while I am still skiing.”
Wells, who placed fourth in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, has his sights set on making his mark at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in China.


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