US's NCAA trains athletes from around the world
Like hundreds of world-class sportswomen and men, Ciaran O'Lionaird has enjoyed the incredible facilities offered by US universities. They work through a system, created in 1910 by President Theodore Roosevelt, called the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA is a semi-voluntary organisation bringing together almost 1,300 institutions. It oversees athletic programmes in many higher education facilities in the US and Canada. It has been attracting athletes from around the world for decades. Few have found fault with it.
But being picked as a NCAA student does not necessarily guarantee professional success.
The NCAA even warns laureates that only three per cent will transform sport into a job.
Alex Lauryn works for www.flowtrack.org in Florida. Lauryn has seen athletes from all walks of life flourish in the collegiate system … but plenty others have fallen by the wayside.
Ciaran O'Lionaird is a 1,500 metre specialist from Ireland. He had a slightly rollercoaster beginning as an NCAA student.
But it’s turning out to be a fairytale ending for the 24-year-old. After years of injury, he fought his way into the finals of the 2011 World Athletics championships in Daegu, South Korea.
He is has now left Florida for the state of Oregon. That is where he will settle into what is widely considered the best college, the University of Oregon in Eugene, nicknamed track-town USA .