The requirements placed on Olympic and professional athletes in contemporary world sport are such that they need to dedicate themselves more and more to achieving excellence. This immediately implies that most athletes' time is dedicated to developing their sporting career, with very little time left to develop other aspects of their lives outside their sport. The reality facing many elite athletes is that few are sufficiently financially rewarded to allow them to make a living out of their sport, and even fewer can rely on measures in place in their own country to assist with the financial and psychological impacts of their retirement from sport [Stambulova, N., Stephan Y., and Japhag U. ‘Athletic Retirement: A Cross-National Comparison of Elite French and Swedish Athletes’. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 8 (2007): 101–18.]. This places even more importance on the need for the athlete either to have a ‘dual career’ or to prepare for a post-athletic career while still participating in elite sport. The current work is an attempt to identify both the opportunities and constraints that have been experienced by student-athletes in combining an academic and sporting career successfully in three European contexts: Finland, France and the UK. It also proposes a rationale outlining eight reasons that student-athletes identified to justify their decision to pursue a dual career path. This is an important contribution to this field of research, as till date there has been hardly any evidence that claims that the two careers were not simply mutually compatible but in fact mutually complementary.