France’s multiple world champion karateka Alexandra Recchia is preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Games, where the sport will make its Olympic debut, by working up to 50 hours a week - as an employment lawyer.
Recchia, 32, told the Tokyo 2020 website how she has been fitting karate training into a daily workload in which she defends those dismissed from the jobs due to claimed underperformance or serious misconduct.
"Now I train from 7:15am to 8:30am before going to work at around 10am," she said.
"With that rhythm, I can finish whenever I want.
"When you study law, you are always in that type of situation.
"Before your exams, you can study all night, sleep for two hours and go to the exam.
"It's the same with the entry and final exam for law school.
"It's basically 15 days of studying 22 hours a day - so 10 hours a day is no big deal!"
Recchia earned her master’s degree in law in 2012 - the year she won her first individual world title.
She repeated that feat in 2016, earning her practising certificate in the same year she became world champion for a second time.
And after three years in which she dedicated herself totally to her sport, Recchia plunged back into the working world in November 2020 - partly because she did not have anything with which to challenge herself, given that every competition following her victory at the Adidas Open in October 2020 - the first event after the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic - was cancelled.
"I was waking up without any challenges, even though that's what motivates me," Recchia said.
"At some point, my mindset was affected.
"I wasn't depressed but I was slowly heading that way.
"The financial factor made me take the decision to get this job.
"And now, I have found that balance between intellectual and sporting activities, as well as a daily challenge."
Recchia had planned to make her quest for a title at the 2016 Karate World Championships her final event, but those plans changed when in August that year the International Olympic Committee announced that karate would be part of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
"I had planned to end my karate career after the World Championships," Recchia, five times a world champion across individual and team events, told Tokyo 2020.
"But I learnt the news that karate would be included on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme.
"I thought about it a lot."
After adding two further world golds - in the women's under-50-kiolgram kumite and team event - in 2016, she concluded: "It was impossible to stop.
"The Olympics is a dream.
"I've competed in every possible event and I have won everything.
"The only one missing is the Olympics.
"I want to finish my career with this goal. I carried on competing for that sole reason."
Recchia is now 20th in the Olympic under-55kg ranking, and plans to compete in the Olympic qualification tournament due to be held in Paris in June this year.