What a year it has been for Marc, an entrepreneur who’s constantly prepping for his future. On May 1st, 2019, he applied for the AISTS MAS in Sport Management. The goal: to prepare for the time following his career in race walking, and in parallel, during the summer break in 2020, to secure his third consecutive participation to the Olympics Games. Marc’s sporting career is currently set for him to achieve his crowning glory, with him being physically at his peak and his qualification is now within reach.

Marc used the involuntary renewal year of his active career with creativity… literally! He kept fit for the first 6 months but stayed totally away from top-level sports. 9 months later, in April 2021, the dream came true as he became a father for the first time. At that period, he was already in full training mode and shortly before in Dudice, Slovakia, he had even set a new national and continental record in a race walking over 50km in a time of 3:53:09. Unfortunately, this was a good 3 minutes over the automatic qualification for Tokyo, even though it meant meeting qualification standards.

Training session last Thursday in Alberta, CAN

So, the trembling continued, and Marc had to keep reminding himself of his very personal adage “iron shapes iron”. Which finally seems to pay off. Last Thursday he received the relieving call from his federation: Nominated for Tokyo 2020! Now only the final confirmation of the NOC awaits. The race is set to take place on 7 August 2020 in Sapporo.

Success does not come without its hurdles and setbacks. Prior to departing to Switzerland for the commencement of the MAS, Marc’s mother passed away, making it extremely difficult for him to leave his home in South Africa. Nevertheless, Marc took the decision to move and complete the AISTS program and started preparing for the competition at full speed. In March 2020, 5 days prior to the final qualifying race, the Olympic Games were postponed by a full year! What a drawback for the 37-year-old who had to ask himself whether he should take on the effort again a year later. But Marc would not be Marc if he had given up. After completing the AISTS MAS successfully, he was able to extend the job with his internship provider, International Bowling Federation, into a permanent position, thus settling the financial side. “It was difficult to accept that all the physical preparation for the Olympics had been a waste. After all, form can’t just be conserved. But giving up was never an option. I was determined to compete in my third Olympics, regardless of the circumstances.”

Dear Marc, we are incredibly happy for you, and keep our fingers crossed that your incredible strength, perseverance and positive energy will pay off – one more time! AISTS proudly stands beside you every step of the way through your Olympic journey.

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