Thursday, August 09, 2012
How Anyone Can Make It To The Olympic Games
With the London 2012 Olympic Games capturing the nation and hearing from athletes at the games how amazing the experience is, leaves me wondering how I can make the Olympic Games as an athlete. Obviously time isn't on my side since I am over thirty years old these days. What do you think is my best sporting opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games? I am a good club player in sports like football, tennis and volleyball, but would never be good enough to play these at the Olympics. I am also a good touch player, but it isn't an Olympic sport. I have great handling skills and an astute mind, but limited pace, balance and agility.
Here are some methods that could allow most people to compete at an Olympic Games if things go their way.
1) Play an existing Olympic Games sport which is obscure in your country and hope that you become one of the best in your country and your country decide to select you. The problem is that New Zealand has strict standards and expect their athletes to have a shot at finishing in the top 16 in something but I am thinking that sports like archery, shooting, fencing, gymnastics or table tennis are your best shot. You could even plead your case for obscure events in existing sports like the 10km swim or canoeing C1 and C2 events where you have one bent knee. It would also help if your sport was something you could train at by doing heaps rather than relying on much natural talent, but with some of these there are only about 20 competitors, so you could almost prove your case of a top 16 finish no matter how bad you are. Modern pentathlon is another one.
2) Move countries and play a sport which New Zealand are quite strong in but you are only averagely ranked and go to another worse ranked country hoping they qualify. You would have to live there a while to be eligible. This is probably ideal in sports that New Zealand are good at. If you are an average rugby sevens player, you could make it to the Olympics in Rio playing sevens for a country which is likely to qualify. Sailing is another possibility.
I have been tempted in order to play international football to go to American Samoa after they lost 31-0 to Australia in 2001 or when I see teams getting thrashed in touch overseas, I wonder if there would be a future playing for them. Of course, it needs to be a country that is good enough to qualify, but with not too much depth and it needs to be an Olympic sport.
3) Get really good at a sport in your own country or overseas and lobby to get it included in the Olympics. I can think of plenty of sports that could be included in the Olympic Games at a pinch that are merely hobbies. There are heaps of fringe sports like lawn bowls, squash, ten pin bowling, ballroom dancing, aerobics, pool, snooker, billiards, darts, mini golf or even petanque. It helps if this sport can be perfected through practice. I have played heaps of touch, but it isn't at the Olympic Games. Maybe I need a hybrid sport like real tennis. I have an astute mind, so wonder if I should try to get draughts, Quelf? or 500 included as an Olympic sport.
4) Perform in a sport that you can compete in until an old age. This gives you the opportunity to have a long career at the Olympics and means that it is probably doesn't matter if you don't have speed or too much stamina. One of the Japanese equestrian riders was 71 years old. Other sports like shooting or archery are other good options.
5) Play in a sport which don't require you to be especially skilled or reliant on your physical ability. I am thinking of a rowing coxswain, so it helps to be small for that one.
6) There are some other more extreme options like bribery of officials, hurting everyone involved in a specific sport so you are the last man standing, getting a sex change to help your chances of getting selected, or even faking a disability to play at the Paralympic Games, although after the Spanish volleyball team they are probably very strict on testing.
What is the best way for you to make the 2016 Rio Olympic Games? I am thinking I should take up fencing, shooting or archery even though I am a bit weary of people who hang out at gun clubs! Comment on this and I will try to let you know what the best way is for you to make the Olympic Games.