Toddler in training for Olympics 2024

I thought my children aged three and a half and nearly two would be too young to enjoy the Olympics, but as usual they have proved me wrong. When the Olympic torch relay passed near our house I didn’t think it was worth braving the pouring rain to catch a glimpse of the flame as it would all just go over their heads. But when a torch bearer kindly brought their torch into nursery for the children to hold, it left quite a lasting impression of Charlotte, three, and sometimes out of nowhere she will proudly tell me “I held the Olympic Torch” adding to my guilt that I let her miss out on this “once in a lifetime experience.”

We did plan to let them stay up to watch the opening ceremony, but they had passed out asleep by the time it started. It must have been good as I managed to stay awake and only conked out when the countries got to the letter B, late for me.

Now it has started they are still showing an interest. The youngest fancies herself as a bit of a gymnast and she practically tries to break her neck while watching the floor routine.

I am not really a pushy mum, honest, but a friend did recommend a book about how to train your child to be a champion.  It argues that talent is overrated and it’s down to practice and perseverance that makes a winner. But the key to China’s Olympic success seems to be they scour the country looking at physical attributes – young swimming record breaker Ye Shiwen’s unusually large hands and feet are said to have been spotted by a teacher and she was whisked off to a training camp.

I found a guide from a baseball coach on picking a sport for your child. He recommends trying a few round the house first, guess that rules out fencing, horseriding and synchronised swimming. He then says to analyse them physically, a strong arm could mean a potential tennis player.

Charlotte had her first sports day at the end of term. There was a relay, which involved the children running while balancing various things on their heads. What she lacked in speed she made up for in sportsmanship. Whereas some children tore as fast as they could up and down holding onto their hoops, Charlotte crept at a snail’s pace, but never touched it once. She got a round of applause, but came last. Slow and steady doesn’t win the race. Nevertheless winners and losers they all got a medal and she was very proud. It’s 16 years until she’ll be old enough to compete in 2028 Olympics. I will have to get measuring her hands and feet.


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