Many children and young athletes often dream about that one day when they can proudly represent their country as an Olympic contestant. The reality is a lot more difficult: very few athletes get to walk as Olympians. Qualifying for the Olympics is more competitive than any event you’ve ever been in, but with enough training and hard work, you can be one of the few that compete for the Olympic medal. Here’s how to make it to the Olympics.
- Choose a sport to compete in. This sport should be an Olympic-recognized sport you’ve been training for since childhood. Among these sports are baseball, hockey, track and field events, fencing, skiing, equestrian events, and figure skating.
- Make sure your coach has a good coaching record and is a well-respected athlete whose goals match yours.
- Practice makes perfect! Even though you were born with a certain skill or talent, the only way you can become a top-notch Olympic athlete is if you constantly work on your game and practice. Olympic athletes spend at least 25 hours a week working out and preparing in advance.
- Keep yourself motivated by having goals, and keeping these goals in mind. It might also help to keep setting high standards for yourself each time your practice. No matter what you’ve achieved, you can always get better. There will always be a technique that will require more work and polish.
- Eat healthy and right. In order to get the energy you need, you’ll have to eat the right foods – a healthy balanced meal with green leafy vegetables, and meat for protein. Snack on granola bars, protein bars, and fruit. You don’t have to cut out junk food and sweets from your diet completely, but it would help to minimize sweets. At the end of a competition, reward yourself with a scoop of ice cream or a piece of cake as a treat.
- Compete at elite events. Start with local events and slowly work your way up to winning national competitions at high-profile events. This will give you the chance to get used to competing and will also allow you to network with fellow athletes. Competing at elite events is also a great way to assess the skill levels of the top contenders and to see where you need to improve.
- After four to eight years of training and winning at elite tournaments, you are probably ready to try out for the Olympic squad. The qualifying process differs according to event and according to country. Each country usually has its own Olympic qualifying tournaments.
Your coach should inform you about when the qualifying tournaments will take place and should book you a slot. If you are among the eight top nations, the top three athletes of each event will end up advancing to the Olympics if they meet the Olympics’ qualifying standards. Other participating countries can only send 2 athletes to the Olympics.