“Studying gives me a break from sports”

In an interview, canoeist Katharina Köther talks about her competitive sports and her degree programme in business law at IUBH.


Katharina, how did you get into canoeing?

Katharina Köther: I discovered canoeing through a friend of mine. With other canoeists, she participated in the school sports competition “Youth Training for the Olympics”. For that, she got a day off from school and that seemed very tempting to me. All I needed to do was learn how to paddle a canoe! In September 2007 I went to the next practice and have been canoeing ever since. The fact that people said I was too old to paddle to top performance levels spurred me on. In 2011 I started for Germany for the first time at the Olympic Hope Games.

Why are you studying at IUBH?

Köther: From the very start I was aware that I would continue with competitive sports even after finishing school. My dream of reaching the Olympics was always my goal. IUBH Distance Learning enables me to combine my weekly 30-hour training schedule with obtaining professional qualifications for a professional career when I stop competitive sports.

When one thinks of competitive sports, one does not automatically think of law. Why did you chose to study business law?

Köther: When I was in school, I already had an interest in law and business. Business law combines both disciplines in one degree programme and provides good career prospects for a secure future. I hope to complete my degree with good grades and join a great team of colleagues in the legal department of a large business enterprise.

canoeingYou recently won silver at the World University Championship. This certainly must have required long and intensive training. How to you integrate studying into your everyday life and training schedule?

Köther: It is definitely not easy. I am often tired and hardly at home due to the courses. I think the trick is simply finding a degree programme that one is really interested in. It needs to be a subject one enjoys so you are curious about the content and the many facets the study programme provides.  Studying gives me a break from sports, and this then motivates me to workout harder again. Vice versa, doing sports frees up my head so I have a fresh start at learning again. It is a perfect combination, but it is also nice to be with family and friends from time to time to get away from both sports and studying.

One last question. What is the difference between canoeing and business law and what do they have in common?

Köther: (laughs) Most people think business law is very dry whereas canoeing is always pretty wet – so they complement each other well. But joking aside, the skills that benefit me in both areas are concentration, accuracy, determination, stamina and perseverance.

Those skills will certainly benefit you in your professional life as well. Thank you for the interview.


Katharina Köther is 22 years old. She has been studying for a bachelor’s in business law at IUBH Distance Learning since 2015. Recently she won silver at the World University Championship; in 2016 she became two-time U23 Vice European Champion and three-time Vice Student World Champion. In 2015 she won gold at the U23 World Championship. She has won many German championships and was selected as athlete of the year in Oberhausen four times. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, friends and dog.

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