Kid Olympics

How to get kids involved with Olympic-style sports.


Young athletes prep for the Chicago Kids Triathlon.

Young athletes prep for the Chicago Kids Triathlon.

The basics
Swimming, cycling and running bring three things that most kids love into one sport.

What it takes
Physically demanding with lots of endurance required, but easy to learn. Kids can get started as soon as they’re able to swim, but most races start at age 7. Parents, don’t worry too much about knocking your kids out: Junior triathlons are much shorter than adult versions (see below).

Olympic dreams?
Some of the country’s best young triathletes are from the area, including pro triathlete Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Park and Kevin McDowell of Geneva, the 2010 world junior bronze medalist. If you’re a fast runner, cyclist or swimmer, you might have a shot.

Why do it?
Three sports in one offer plenty of variety. Practice on your own or make friends, get in shape and get motivated by signing up with one of several area kids’ training groups, including All Kids Can Tri and Tri-Masters.

Try it
The 22nd annual Chicago Kids Triathlon takes place August 25. Kids ages 7–10 swim 100 meters, bike 4K and run 1K, while kids ages 11–14 swim 200 meters, bike 8K and run 2K. Montrose Beach, 4400 N Lake Shore Dr (312-742-5121, $45.

  1. Triathlon
  2. Fencing
  3. Equestrian
  4. Sailing
  5. Gymnastics