Going for gold: How one Deaflympic athlete balances training with her GCSEs

It’s game on for GB Deaflympics athlete Jodie Ounsley, who is in the final stretch before competing on the world stage in Turkey this summer.  

Jodie Ounsley had a lot more to contend with than your average 16 year old taking their GCSEs. The Yorkshire schoolgirl was born profoundly deaf and fitted with a cochlear implant at just 14 months old. Jodie has also had cope with a chronic knee condition but has not let this stop her competing.

To date, she has been selected for the England Rugby under-18s Academy Programme, pursued her regular educational commitments and excelled in her other passion, athletics.  This July, Jodie will be representing Team GB in the 100m and 200m at the Deaflympics in Turkey from the 18th of July.


So how does she do it? We asked Jodie to share her top tips for balancing studying with competitive sport.

1 – Set goals

I usually pre-book competitions so I have a target to work towards. Goals help you fully commit to the training. Knowing you’ll be competing in the public eye is a big motivator!

If you’re unable to compete at an event, try setting yourself a personal goal instead. This could include making a team, achieving a personal best or passing a trial.


2 – Weekly timetables

I always make a detailed plan for the week ahead. This includes my training schedule, studying and part-time work. By putting my plan to paper I am able to track how I am doing.


3 – Split the day

Doing the same tasks for long periods of time is repetitive; to stay motivated I recommend splitting your training and studying into blocks of time. For your sport, if you’re lucky enough to have teammates, try taking turns to coordinate sessions in your training.


4 – Pendulum priorities

There are always going to be times when priorities changes. I experienced this recently when completing my GCSEs, training for the Deaflympics, while also having a part-time job. Manage your time effectively by treating your goals like a pendulum and ensuring you’re flexible with your priorities.


5 – Rewards

Remember to treat yourself! It can be difficult to juggle the demands of training and studying so remember to give yourself time to recover, relax and recharge.

Deaflympic athletes receive no funding from the government. You can support Jodie and learn more here.