The launch was hosted by Margriet de Schutter, a former speed skater, who runs an online platform for athletes. She co-edited the book with FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge and orthopedic surgeon Professor Gino Kerkhoffs.
Marianne Timmer, a three-time Olympic champion, said elite athletes are blessed with considerable mental strength to handle pressure.
“Sometimes it felt like the tunnel was getting smaller and smaller,” she said. “Somehow you have to reach the end.”
Evgeniy Levchenko, the president of Dutch player union VVCS, said he saw this as a footballer when he played with Luis Suarez.
“He did not care about anyone, not about the audience, anyone, even his own teammates,” he said. “He just focused on the goal.”
Sarah Gregorius, who played 100 times for New Zealand, said: “The best athletes when they cross that white line, they’re on -- it’s an extraordinary skill.”
She spoke about adapting to different cultures and languages while playing in Germany and Japan, and her career transition to working as a policy advisor for FIFPRO in the Netherlands.
Levchenko told of the challenges of changing career when he stopped playing at age 36.
“For three or four months I slept until 11am. To compensate for the adrenaline I started car racing, motorbike racing, sky-diving. Gradually you become more relaxed when you find a goal for yourself.”