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How to Become an Olympic Athlete

Think you've got what it takes to be a champion? Follow these steps to make your dream a reality.


  • Step 1: Pick a sport Pick an Olympic sport according to your age, training, experience, and athleticism. Being a middle-aged couch potato doesn't necessarily disqualify you; not all sports require the same level of physical prowess.
  • Step 2: Train Once you've chosen a sport, find a place to train. Join a gym or recreational center to take classes and immerse yourself in the sport.
  • Step 3: Join the NGB Join your sport's national governing body, or NGB. In the U.S. go to to register and get information on league events.
  • Step 4: Get a coach Find a coach at your local training facility, or through the NGB. A coach will help you take your skills to the next level and guide you through the complexities of competition.
  • Step 5: Start competing Enter local and regional tournaments; then work your way up to national championships.
  • TIP: Talk to Olympic coaches there for insider advice on making the team.
  • Step 6: Find financing Find financing for sports that require you to train full-time. The most common strategies are athletic scholarships, corporate sponsorships, and residencies at official Olympic training centers.
  • Step 7: Qualify for the Olympics Qualify for the games by attending tryouts, winning a qualifying competition, maintaining a high national ranking, or being selected by the coaches of the national team. Now keep your eyes on the prize and go for the gold!
  • FACT: The oldest Olympian was Oscar Swahn, who was 72 when he won a silver medal in the running deer double-shot team event.

You Will Need

  • Talent
  • Dedication
  • A training center
  • An NGB membership
  • A coach
  • Financing

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