8 Reasons Why Swim Parents Should Watch the Olympics With Their Kids

by Elizabeth Wickham

When I was a kid, I watched Mark Spitz make history. My family watched the Olympics together, and the excitement we shared has stayed with me. As swim parents, we now have the privilege of sharing the Olympic experience with our kids.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to watch the Olympics with your kids:


Perseverance, grit and hard work are on display. What a perfect way to show that hard work does pay off.


Dreams are achievable. Every athlete at the Olympics has a dream. No dream is too big, and we can tell our kids that it’s okay to aim high.


It’s not just the medalists who are winners—all the athletes are winners for making it there. Can you and your kids imagine how exciting it would be to make an Olympic team?


It’s about more than the individual, it’s about team and country. You’ll see national pride, the flags, the uniforms—and athletes competing for something larger than themselves.


People from around the world do get along. With all the awful news around the world, it’s refreshing to see 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries get together. Is anything more heartwarming than witnessing the first Refugee Olympic Team?


Overcoming adversity is a theme often expressed by athletes. The life stories we hear from individual athletes are as compelling as the races.


You get to watch humility and grace under pressure—examples of what good sportsmanship looks like.


In swimming, it’s a worldwide community and your swimmers are a part of it.

What other reasons do you have to watch the Olympics with your kids?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.

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Carrie Hamm
4 years ago

We watched the 2012 Olympics when my son was 8. We watched Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian ever. He was glued to the tv, turned around and faced us saying “I want to do that!” In the fall we signed him up for the swim team at our local YMCA. This past year, his 8 year old sister joined him on the team. He swims unattached for USA swimming as well as the YMCA. In March, he attended his first Junior Olympics. We could not have imagined four years ago how much swimming has changed our lives. We are grateful and blessed to be a part of such an amazing sport. I can’t wait to see what the… Read more »

Reply to  Carrie Hamm
4 years ago

This happened to me.
Except I didn’t make the Junior Olympics

Sane Swim Parent
4 years ago

I love the background stories, which show my children that champions are not people who’ve never lost, they’re people who’ve never given up.

Cynthia mae Curran
4 years ago

The first Olympics I remember was 1968 with Debbie Meyers and I believe my grade school teacher brought in the TV to watch some of it.

4 years ago

I love that my kids can explain all the subtleties of stroke differences and how/why swimmers make the decisions they make (how long to stay under water, how fast to kick, when to “turn it on” etc). Opens up my eyes to all the detail I don’t ever really hear about!

Lori Kilmer
4 years ago

Well written, thanks!!

4 years ago

Watched my 13 yr old check out his game face in the mirror last night with his new Phelps racing goggles and Vancouver Vikings swim cap #dreambig Heading out to Spani pool to watch teammates swim Freestyle relay this Saturday!

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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