Lessons from Olympic Athletes
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games officially kicks off in London on July 27, and athletes from 205 nations will come together to compete in more than 300 events. In the days leading up to and throughout the games, you have an opportunity to teach your children about the hard work required to achieve goals. There are lessons to be learned about the incredible dedication and perseverance needed to earn these coveted spots in the Games and about the people who make up the athletes’ support systems and the roles they play in those individuals’ successes.
Practice Makes Perfect
Olympic athletes are great role models for children of any age. Whether their interests lie in sports, music, or academics, daily practice and hard work will be necessary for children to master any skill. Everyone has moments of weakness and thoughts about giving up, but athletes who keep the end goal in mind are the ones who make it to the finish. As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough…the tough get going!”
Have your children choose Olympic athletes in a sport they like to follow and visit the official page of London 2012 to research the athletes. Read together about their path to the Olympics, and talk about some of the challenges they might have faced, the people who were important in their lives, and what it took to get to the Games.
How young were they when they began training? Were there any set-backs in their career? Who coached them? How often do they train? As your children learn about their favorite athletes’ background, they will also learn about important qualities like commitment and determination.
Behind every athlete is a family who supports them and parents and coaches who push them to keep practicing and working hard even when they struggle to keep going. Remember that, as a parent, you set the example for your children, and you should be proud of helping them establish routines and set a path for success.
While the role of an athlete’s support team is usually kept behind the scenes, they too make sacrifices and stick to a daily routine. “To be an Olympic athlete requires commitment. A special kind of promise or pledge to work toward a goal. Athletes and their families follow a schedule, or plan, for practice time. Every day of the week, they go to practice,” journalist Sijith Salim said in his article, “Making A Commitment – An Olympic Commitment.” As your children set short and long term goals, sit down as a family to discuss what this will require of them and how you can provide support. If they have the opportunity to ask for help in the beginning, they will appreciate your support along the way.
Enjoy following the Olympic Games as a family, and remind your children that every athlete was once a kid, just like them, with a dream and the motivation to achieve it! You can be sure that these athletes practiced every day, no matter what, and had parents and coaches there to keep them going even on the days they were lacking motivation.