Inspired by the Olympics? These Utah Sports Venues Can Help You Get A Practice Or Just Try Something New

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(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kyra Condie chalks her hands up as she trains to represent the U.S. team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where rock climbing will debut, on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Whether you were inspired by the jumps of gymnast MyKayla Skinner or the skills of swimmer Katie Ledecky, there are dozens of ways to keep the Olympic flame going.

The Utah Olympic Park in Park City – where some of the events of the 2002 Olympics were held – is an obvious place to start. It offers summer activities for novices and aspiring Olympians, said Kole Nordmann, director of marketing and media production at the facility.

You don’t have to wait for the snow to try summer bobsleigh, freestyle swimming pool skiing and snowboarding, zipline tours, extreme tubing and downhill tobogganing. These activities are chargeable, so check the Utah Olympic Park website for more information.

The park also offers plenty of free activities, Nordmann said, including hiking trails, the park’s two museums, and the ability to observe athletes throughout their training programs.

Normally, sports fans “don’t see the routine every day,” Nordmann said. “[So seeing them train] humanizes athletes. … It’s their job. They have to do these things every day.

Whether you’re looking for your next fitness obsession or just curious to try out one of the more obscure Olympic sports, here’s another way to play like an Olympian in Utah.

For more information, location details, and links, you can access this story online at bit.ly/OlympicsTryItOut.

U.S. Olympic team archer Brady Ellison has a group of arrows on a target as he practices at his booth Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Miami, Arizona. Between remodeling his archery shop and raising piglets, Brady Ellison shoots 100 arrows a day on his bespoke range. It’s not high volume for him, but he has backed down with the coronavirus pandemic postponing the Tokyo Games until next summer and his season suspended. (AP Photo / Ross D. Franklin)

Archery

From Marvel’s Hawkeye to Disney’s Princess Merida, there’s no shortage of characters who wield bows and arrows.

But the real experts were found at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where Mete Gazoz from Turkey won gold in the men’s individual competition and An San from South Korea won gold in the women’s individual competition.

There are a number of places in Utah where everyone from novices to experienced archers can practice their aim, from the Easton Foundations Archery Center in Salt Lake to the Wilde Arrow Archery in Centerville.

Ryan Chew of the United States watches the shuttlecock during the men’s badminton doubles semi-final against Brazil at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru on Thursday, August 1, 2019 (AP Photo / Silvia Izquierdo)

Badminton

Players – singly or in pairs – hit a shuttlecock through a net in the racquet sport, which officially became part of the 1992 Olympics.

In Utah, aspiring badminton players can try the game courtesy of the Utah Badminton Association in Sandy or the University of Utah Badminton Club in Salt Lake City.

FILE – In this file photo from August 19, 2016, Australian gold medalist Chloe Esposito, left, faces American Isabella Isaksen in the fencing part of the women’s modern pentathlon at the Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Janeiro, Brazil. Esposito announced in late January that a “wonderful and unexpected surprise” had occurred and the Australian would not be able to defend her gold in the modern pentathlon at the Tokyo Olympics. She was pregnant with her first child. Two months later, Esposito and thousands of other Olympians learned that the Tokyo Games would be postponed for a year until July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. While for some that meant more time to recover from injuries or more time to prepare, Esposito realized it could give him a second chance to be in Tokyo next year. (AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

Fencing

If daring sword fights or epic duels sound exhilarating to you, then this sport may be for you.

The sport involves speed, agility, and “chess-like strategic thinking,” according to the Wasatch Fencing website.

This year, American Lee Kiefer won gold in the women’s individual foil.

Try it yourself at Salt City Swords Fencing Club (formerly Utah Sword Academy), Wasatch Fencing in Kaysville, or Valkyrie Fencing Club in Pleasant Grove.

Denmark’s Mikkel Hansen shoots during the Handball World Championship final match against Sweden in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday, January 31, 2021. (AP Photo / Petr David Josek)

Handball

This game was first played in Scandinavia and Germany at the end of the 19th century, according to the Team USA website. these are two teams of seven players who pass a ball with their hands in order to throw it into the other team’s goal,

It was originally introduced as an outdoor summer sport at the 1939 Olympics, but has been played as an indoor summer sport since 1972.

Utah residents who wish to try this game can join the Utah Handball Association in Murray or the Massif SLC Team Handball Club.

However, Patrick Halladay, a representative of the Massif SLC Team Handball Club, clarified that the Utah Handball Association is affiliated with a different version of the sport than that used at the Olympics.

“It’s more like racquetball played with the palm of your hand,” he said. “Because of this confusion, Olympic handball is called ‘team handball’ in the United States”

The Massif SLC Team Handball Club plays team handball, the Olympic version of the sport, Halladay said.

Judo teacher Tomoo Hamana helps protect the neck of a new student during a judo class at the Hamana dojo in Oiso city, west of Tokyo, on October 1, 2020. Japan is the homeland of judo, and the nineteenth-century martial art is sure to garner more attention at home than any other sport at the Tokyo Olympics postponed next year. But it also attracts unwanted scrutiny of the widespread allegations of violence, injuries and abuse that accompany them. (AP Photo / Hiro Komae)

Judo

This combat sport requires physical prowess and mental discipline, according to the Team USA website, and involves techniques that allow competitors to lift, throw and pin their opponents.

Despite this, the word “judo” literally means “the path of gentleness”, from the Japanese character “ju” meaning “gentle” and “do” meaning “the path”.

In Tokyo, Japanese athletes won gold in five weight classes for men, while four more Japanese judokas won gold in four weight classes for women.

Both adults and children can learn the moves at Rocky Mountain Judo in Midvale. The first visits are free, then the tuition is $ 80 per month.

If you want to learn “the sweet way,” take classes at the Lehi Judo Club or the Kaizen Judo Dojo in Clearfield.

Editor’s Note • 150 Things To Do is a reporting project and weekly newsletter made possible through the generous support of the Utah Tourist Board. Subscribe to the 150 things newsletter here.


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