Olympic swimming champion Duncan Goodhew MBE was among the keynote speakers at a Bournemouth University (BU) sports conference.
The day-long Back to the Future conference was attended by sporting organisations from across the region, and aimed to build closer links between BU’s sports academics and local practitioners.
Duncan, who won an Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke in 1980, spoke about how sport and business can complement each other.
He said: “I think it’s fantastic to see a university take seriously what sport can offer to business and education.
“I think that sport can prepare students for business life. It’s the skills you develop in playing sport that prepare you for the workplace.”
He added: “In the USA, I have seen what sports can do for students, players and businesses and so the exciting thing about being here is that it’s still in its relative infancy in the UK.
“I’m going to watch with excitement to see whether we can replicate or even better what happens in the States.”
Other keynote speakers at the conference included leading sports academic Professor Barrie Houlihan, of Loughborough University, and Poole-based running coaches Liz and Martin Yelling.
Liz, a former Olympic marathon runner, and her husband Martin – a running coach and founder of digital challenge platform Jantastic – spoke about how key partnerships, including coaches and spouses, can impact on sporting performance.
Martin said: “The significant people around you are instrumental to your performance outcomes.
“You have to have emotional stability – as soon as you have emotional instability, performance nosedives.”
The Back to the Future conference is now in its second year, and was attended by organisations including Active Dorset, England Handball and representatives from local authorities.
BU Senior Lecturer in Sports Management Gary Evans, who came up with the idea for the conference, said he hoped the event would lead to working partnerships and research collaborations.
“It has gone really well, and it is good to see lots of people chatting and networking,” he said.
“We are here to show what we can do, the quality of what we do and that we are here to work with employers for mutual benefit.”