Wrestlers at the Panam Sports Training Camp received a Career+ workshop powered by the International Olympic Committee and led by Panam Sports Athlete Commission Member Carlos Santiago.

Between learning new ways to pin their opponents to the mat, wrestlers at the Panam Sports Training Camp at the Mexican Olympic Committee also learned more about theirselves and their personalities and how that can help them in their life after sport.

More than 70 athletes and coaches participated in a three-day workshop of the Career+ initiative by Athlete 365 and the IOC Athletes’ Commission. The goal of the program is to prepare young athletes how to transition their careers with support, resources and training to maximize their employment and education opportunities.

Panam Sports Athlete Commission Member and Olympian Carlos Santiago from Puerto Rico led the workshop at the NOC headquarters. Carlos is a veteran of the Career+ program having delivered workshops throughout the Americas in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, Panama and others.

“Basically what we try to demonstrate to them is that they have many skills and a lot of fortitude that they’ve learned from sport and here we give them that push so they can use that after their sport career,” Santiago told Panam Sports.

On the first day of the workshop, Carlos divided the athletes and coaches into groups to connect with one another and use teamwork to solve challenges. These groups also discovered more about their personalities and how their character traits can help them in sport and their careers while also showing them areas they need to continue to develop and strengthen.

“They taught us things I didn’t even now about myself, things about ourselves and our personalities. I identify with the lion from the example, which means I have a positive mind and I show leadership,” said wrestler Maria Mendez from Mexico.

Carlos says he uses his experience as an Olympian in the sport of judo to help him lead these workshops and relate to the athletes who attend them.

“As an athlete myself, or when I was an athlete, we realized that being an athlete teaches us many characteristics and strengths that helps us transfer that experience to our daily or professional lives. That’s what we’re trying to do here with these young athletes,” said Santiago.

After three days of learning more about themselves and how the entire Olympic Movement functions, each athlete and coach who attended the workshop received a diploma for their efforts.