With the Olympics drawing to a close, I found the results of a recent survey quite fascinating.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. residents revealed that 40 percent think they’re fit enough to compete in at least one summer or winter sport at the Olympics. That includes three times as many men as women (60% vs. 22%), half of all respondents from the Northeast (52%), and almost 70 percent of those under the age of 35.
Basketball, soccer, and swimming are particularly popular choices, which seems to add to the craziness of the results.
Take basketball, for example.
- Just think of how many kids don’t make their high school basketball team.
- Then think of how few high school players continue to play in college, particularly at the highest (Division 1) level.
- Then think how few college players make it to the pros.
- And finally, think about how few pros are invited to play on the Olympic team. There are only 12 players on the team.
We are talking the best of the best of the best.
The most recent number I found showed that 550,000 boys played high school basketball in 2017/18. And even if eight years later all 12 Olympic players come from this group of boys, we are talking about a 22 out of a million chance of making the Olympic team.
And then there’s swimming, a sport I am a bit more familiar with. I was a decent swimmer and could have swam for a Division 1 team, but I would have never qualified for Nationals. And of those swimmers who do qualify for the Division 1 nationals, a small subset will be good enough to qualify for the Olympic trials. And at the Olympic trials, you need to typically finish first or second to make the Olympic team (as well as meet the Olympic qualifying time standard).
So once again we are talking about a tiny fraction of swimmers who are good enough to compete at the Olympics.
So when I read that 40% of people surveyed think they are fit enough to compete in the Olympics, all I could think was; “Did you ever even compete in sports, bro?”