The Bluffer’s Guide to Making Your Child an Olympian

Two weeks ago I had no interest in the Olympics. I failed to see how I might get excited by fencing, gripped by dancing horses or enthralled by rhythmic gymnastics. However, it turns out Great Britain (I really can’t get on board with the term Team GB) is really good at running, swimming, riding bikes and, in the case of the the Brownlees, all three within the same hour. I don’t mind admitting it, I’m heavily tipped for gold in the men’s advanced bandwagon jumping and I love it.

Despite the BBC’s cunning ruse to keep viewers on their toes by suddenly switching between channels just as the action is reaching a crescendo, I’ve been glued to the coverage. The cycling was a particular highlight and who couldn’t fall in love with Jason Kenny and Laura Trott?

Whilst the rest of the track cycling team have been celebrating since the velodrome schedule wound down, the engaged couple have been spending their time desperately ringing round insurance companies back home, trying to extend their cover to take into account the five gold medals they’re bringing back from Rio with them. They are both such powerful, skilful and focused competitors that one thing I’m taking away from the 2016 Olympics is that I will definitely decline any invitation I get from the Trott-Kennys to attend a board games evening.

How to Get in on the Action

At 37 I think it may be time to admit my chances of becoming an Olympian are pretty much behind me, even though I’m in better shape than I was a decade ago. Now is the time to focus my energies on forcing encouraging 2-year-old Elsa to take up the mantle. I’m happy living vicariously.

It’s not all plain sailing being an athlete’s parents, as US gymnast Aly Raisman’s mum and dad showed at the last two Summer Games:

The solution is to not to push your kids into something difficult, but rather lobby the Olympics to incorporate an activity they are already good at. Take trampolining – it was only introduced in 2000 and was clearly a result of some parents who incessantly pestered the IOC so that all those Saturday mornings hunched over a tepid coffee, waiting for the kids to burn off their seemingly-endless energy in some backwater activity centre could eventually pay off.

That’s why I’ll be looking to get ‘funny voices’ into the 2024 Games:

 

I mentioned this on Twitter and a number of other dads also chipped in with the new sports that could turn their kids into Olympians.

Although Dad Up North had some cautionary words:

Location, Location, Location

Getting Elsa to the Olympics is not just a pipe dream. She is destined to make it. She is born and bred in Yorkshire (both years of her life), which would certainly hold its own as an individual country when it comes to winning Olympic gongs. We live within minutes of the home village of the triathlon-destroying Brownlees, just down the road from expert pugilist Nicola Adams’ gaff in Leeds and we practically have Yorkshire Tea on tap in our house – the building blocks are there.

I’m writing this on Thursday night and this is where Yorkshire currently stands in the medal table:

I presume Usain Bolt will have shot Jamaica ahead of God’s Own Country by the time I wake up, but IN YOUR FACE KAZAKHSTAN!

In all seriousness, if Elsa wants to take up one of these sports it would involve huge sacrifices that we would make in a heartbeat to help her follow her dreams. That’s why I’m not just chuffed for the athletes seeing the fruits of their labour, but I’m so pleased for the parents too who have allowed them to flourish. I’m also jealous that they get to spend a fortnight in Rio. I wouldn’t mind a trip to Tokyo either, but Elsa will only be six in 2020, so it might be a little bit early.

Knowing my luck, by the time she’s winning medals, it will be 2028 and the Olympics will be held in Milton Keynes.

Making Your Child and Olympian

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