At some point, almost every parent has watched the Olympics on TV this month and thought, “Sure, my kid can be an Olympian.” Well, the odds are not good, of course. Beyond just the athletics of your children (they’re good, but not that good, let’s face it), there are the finances.
A 2012 study by Forbes put the annual cost of training and competing in archery at more than $25,000, fencing at $20,000 and gymnastics at $15,000.
As a parent, how do you know that your child will be interested a year after watching the Olympics on TV and want to emulate one of Rio’s big stars?
Here are 5 sports you can try out on the cheap — in your basement, backyard or a public park — before investing thousands on Olympic training and competition.
Cost to get started: $22 (racket, 3-pack of tennis balls)
First Olympics Games: 1896, Athens (men); 1900, Paris (women)
Fast fact: This year’s stars competing in the Olympics included Serena Williams and Venus Williams (United States), Andy Murray (Great Britain), Roger Federer (Switzerland), Novak Djokovic (Serbia) and Rafael Nadal (Spain).
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Cost to get started: $10 (ball)
First Olympics Games: Paris, 1900 (men); Atlanta, 1996 (women)
Fast fact: The Rio Games started with 16 countries in the men’s competition and 12 in the women’s, with play spanning 7 stadiums across Brazil.
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Cost to get started: $110 (table, paddle, balls)
First Olympics Games: 1988, Seoul
Fast fact: It’s the most popular racket sport in the world, according to the Rio Games official website.