Facts, Not Fiction

 
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    For the aspiring athlete chasing the Olympic dream. How difficult is it?
    #1
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    Hello,

    Id like to get a feel for how difficult it is to chase the Olympic dream. Id also love to hear your story as to what you are currently doing to get there.

    As I understand, it is extremely difficult to get a sponsorhip and even more complicated to compete in meets. Therefore, Id love to open up a discussion related to what are you doing to reach your goals? If the Olympics is your main goal, what are the steps you are taking to get there?

    This study will greatly help with growing rootlent.com, a brand dedicated for the undiscovered aspiring athlete.

    Thank you!
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    #2
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    Track and field is so numerical, that generally athletes that are preforming well already are already on the radar many places, at least in the current internet era. That that means you could focus searches on athletes that could be in related sports and how potential for T&F that does not show up big time in the numbers or that there are track and field athletes that could be of significance in other sports. One 'pipeline' from track and field is for big sprinters to try bobsledding. However, that is so well known that there is not much ground there (and Bobsled is not a big lucrative sport).
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    #3
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    I think nearly every athlete with a smidgen of talent and ambition has at least fleeting Olympic dreams until reality sets in...hard to track them all but contenders will emerge eventually.
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    #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 26mi235 View Post
    Track and field is so numerical, that generally athletes that are preforming well already are already on the radar many places, at least in the current internet era. That that means you could focus searches on athletes that could be in related sports and how potential for T&F that does not show up big time in the numbers or that there are track and field athletes that could be of significance in other sports. One 'pipeline' from track and field is for big sprinters to try bobsledding. However, that is so well known that there is not much ground there (and Bobsled is not a big lucrative sport).
    Thanks for the feedback, I didn't know some sprinters look after bobsledding but that makes total sense. From what I can tell, chasing the Olympic dream is also very costly and I think that's one of the reasons many T&F athletes give up.
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    #5
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    I'd say the majority of folks who post on this board are media, fans, maybe some coaches, but a pretty low number of athletes (at least currently in the game).

    Another way to approach your mission would be to study the lists and rankings on this site, as well as the members of Team USA from the Rio Games, then look at Twitter and other social media to see which athletes might be accessible. Then you could reach out and maybe get some real engagement from athletes who have recent, real-life experience to share with you. If you peruse this and other track and field/running web sites, you will also see profiles and accounts of what some of these athletes have gone through.
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    #6
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    Following a dream is always difficult.

    Firstly you must have physical and mental ability, and then you have to have an effective coach or mentor for guidance. Single minded focus is every bit at important as the physical skills. I suspect more fail due to lack of mental acumen. The range of physical abilities is a pretty wide window.

    You then have to have the resources - you don't need a sponsor, but you do need to have a job / income that allows you to keep eating at the level of your need.

    And then you have to have luck. The Olympics is every 4 years. And injury or a bad day at the wrong time can ruin your dream.

    Your Olympic dream is not the same as the 'becoming an elite athlete' dream. You have way more time, and less expectation there. The bar is lower.
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    #7
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    I'm not certain what is meant by "undiscovered aspiring athlete".
    Just about every athlete in any sport visualizes success at the Olympic level, but 99% come to the realization at some point that they lack the raw physical or emotional tools to make it happen. Then you either give up the sport or aspire to see how good you can be at a more realistic level.

    In T&F truly gifted athletes usually are recognized fairly early and if their marks are impressive enough they don't have to look for opportunities. Rather, college coaches seek the best kids out with scholarship offers in hand. And the best of the best, like the handful of high schoolers who ran in the OT's last July, pick have their pick of schools or choose to turn pro and pick any corporate sponsor offering the best deal. Still, being a pro athlete at 18 years of age is often an overwhelming burden unless athlete finds really trustworthy, experienced mentors.

    Of course, the great thing about track is that you can keep training and trying as long as you want. I guess the point of rootletrootlent is targeting marginal athletes who want to continue but have trouble finding the way forward economically. Any way you cut it, that's a tough road to travel and will call for great determination and no small degree of hardship. My hunch is that a lot of people in that situation depend on family support as at least an economic safety net. Maybe the best asset for such athletes is a love of the sport and the competition... that makes the journey a joy and provides a sense of personal fulfillment even when the long-shot chances don't work out.
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