NPR

Training For The Olympics Is Hard Enough. Try Doing That While Earning A Degree

Olympic athletes struggle to balance the demands of their sports with college.
Leslie Klein, director of the athlete career and education program the U.S. Olympic Committee. Source: Matt Nager for NPR

Max Aaron may have been the 2011 men's junior figure-skating champion, 2013 U.S. national champion and 2015 Skate America champion. And sure, he's a top contender for a spot on the U.S. team in next month's Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

But all his grandfather wants to know is when he's going to machan a leibedik—Yiddish for "make a living."

Before he can do that, though, Aaron and many other elite athletes face a big hurdle: Finding time, between all that training — hours in the gym or pool or on the ice — to earn a college degree.

Aaron, who is 25, has been working on it — for years — balancing his grueling training schedule with classes in finance at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

A onetime hockey player who switched to

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