The top factors in Olympic athletes choosing their sport was an intrinsic love of activity and love of their particular sport.
With the 2018 Winter Olympics set to begin, it’s a great time to think about what makes an Olympian. There are certainly countless hours of training, raw talent, sacrifice, coaching and a commitment to be the best.
And then there’s love.
A few years ago, we highlighted a United States Olympic Committee study of more than 300 Olympic athletes from 2000 to 2012 to identify the factors around their success. You can read the full blog here, but two things jumped out from the study.
The first is that the top factors in Olympic athletes choosing their sport was an intrinsic love of activity and love of their particular sport. Those factors far outweighed choices such as early success in the sport, parental influence and being recruited by a coach to that particular sport.
The second big observation was that the very best in their chosen sport didn’t focus exclusively on that sport until later years. Through age 14, the average number of sports played by Olympians in the study was 2.99, and even through age 18, the average number of sports was 2.12.
Whether you’re a parent or coach, keep those things in mind as you watch the amazing athleticism at this year’s Olympics, and think about how they might apply to the young lacrosse players in your life.