Olympians credit their success to diverse sports

Olympians credit their success to diverse sports

It seems more and more professional athletes these days are crediting their international success to having played a variety of sports during childhood.

The most recent testimonies come from a pair of Canadian Olympians, Lizanne Murphy of the women’s basketball team and Rhian Wilkinson of the bronze medal-winning women’s soccer team. In a recent Montreal Gazette article, they tell John Meager that the key to their achievement lay in playing a number of sports in their youth instead of focusing on just one.

Murphy says her parents’ decision to enroll her in a number of sports gave her a wider variety of athletic skills and helped her enjoy her sports more:

“My parents must have had a plan in what they were doing,” Murphy added, “because all of the sports that I’ve done – swimming, diving, water polo, soccer and gymnastics – it was to help with coordination and your body awareness. . . . For younger kids, the most important thing is to get enjoyment out of your sport. You really have a lot of time to specialize to buckle down and train when you’re a little bit older.”

Wilksinson agrees, adding Canadian kids should take advantage of the diversity of sporting opportunities available to them in Canada:

“We’re very blessed here (in Canada). Someone said the kids here will probably choose hockey if you force them to choose. That’s our biggest sport here. But we were so blessed . . . to have so many sports to choose from.”

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