Andrew Elkind
© John Cheng

By Riley Steinmetz, USOC

There has never been a doubt in Andrew Elkind’s mind that training for 2012 Olympic Games is his top priority. At the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, he is not alone in his Olympic dreams.

However, he is unique in that, on top of training full time, he decided to get a Master’s degree in accounting.

Elkind is not a stranger to balancing education and being an elite athlete – during his undergraduate years, he earned a degree from the University of Michigan while competing as part of its gymnastics program. After graduating in 2007, he moved to the Olympic Training Center.

Instead of choosing to devote his time solely to gymnastics, Elkind chose to enroll in his Master’s program – at the University of Denver, almost 65 miles from Colorado Springs and the Olympic Training Center.

At Michigan, Elkind had the advantage of training and taking classes on the same campus, so attending a school in a different city presented him with some challenges. Elkind worked with professors and chose his courses wisely in order to make the program work for him.

" I commuted to Denver two nights a week and did some independent studies to ease my burden during heavy competition months," he said.

Rather than feeling burdened by the increased workload, though, Elkind felt that balancing both his sport and his education made him better in both areas of his life. Instead of creating stress in his life, it helped Elkind feel like he was making better use of his time.

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