Do Extreme Sports Prove Olympic Success Starts in School?

Sep 21, 2023 BY Mark Pawlak

Everyone remembers school sports. And unless you were very lucky, there was the very familiar list of ‘choices’ which then filled our Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Only recently have schools started to lighten the curriculum and include a new range of sports including more extreme ones. But do extreme sports prove Olympic success starts in school?

Now, there must be a correlation between which sports are taught in schools and the Olympic medal tables? We’ve long seen the summer Olympic tallies dominated by the larger countries. But will this remain true with the integration of extreme sports events?

Do Extreme Sports Prove Olympic Success Starts in School? unsplash royalty free image by jhonatan saavedra perales of skateboarding

Start Extreme Sports Young

It’s about support: How much do governments support emerging sports. Do they invest in training programs and do they even insist that children take part in sport at all?

If ever there was proof that you get out what you put in, it is to be found in Norway. By celebrating its environment, Norway naturally integrates outdoor activities into schools and quickly identifies its future champions. Many of its public high schools offer sports education programs, and support comes directly from the Central Norway Olympic Sport Centre.

Forget football, these education centres focus on ski jumping, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, alpine skiing and even biathlon. And the results are for all to see: Norway topped the 2022 Winter Olympics able in Beijing, eclipsing larger countries with bigger budgets like the US and China.

Are Extreme Sports Too Dangerous?

So, if you embrace your environment and reflect it in the choices you offer young people, you get the gold. Now, when schools take up extreme sports are they likely to be putting children in danger, or on track to be future Olympic heroes and X-Games champions?

Do Extreme Sports Prove Olympic Success Starts in School? Moto X games Flickr CC image by G155

One difficulty is getting schools to play ball, so to speak. But it’s already looking positive. Local schools in Brighton, UK are offering skateboarding and many British schools are embracing scooter skills. Yet some moves are more to protect schools from legal action – sugar-loaded kids and school gates can easily collide…

Similarly, some sports just can’t make it to school. You can discount a lot of the watersports for starters although sailing, kayaking and canoeing are more accessible. But kitesurfing and coasteering are never going to make it in and basejumping, well, perhaps not till year six… .

In short, despite the rising popularity of extreme sports, such as Parkour or BMX, there really is only a small number of extreme sports that can be taught in school, safely.

Do Extreme Sports Prove Olympic Success Starts in School?

Still, what we can do is normalise them. Teach children how to take part in extreme sports safely. Teach them too that you can get your exercise without enduring 90 minutes of torrential rain on a football pitch or an hour running into a blizzard for the cross–country team.

Kayaking with kids Activity holidays for all the family

Teachers should be checking the listings for future Olympics and earmarking the new sports. And as well as identifying the potential champions in the regular sports, they need to be keeping their eyes open for the next extreme sport champ But above all encouraging kids to get outside and give any sport a go!

Then we’ll see if extreme sports prove Olympic success starts in school!

Want to take up a new extreme activity? Then check out hundreds of action sports courses worldwide.


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