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Olympic sports take center stage


DE PERE — The Summer Olympics thrust swimming, gymnastics and track and field into the spotlight every four years — but for many young athletes in northeastern Wisconsin, these sports are part of their daily lives.

  • We spoke with a few local Olympic sports stars in the De Pere neighborhood: Stars Academy gymnast Addison Fritsch, State champion swimmer Carly Larsondynamic track and field athletes Andrew W Aiden Cartier And Distance runner Grady Lynn
  • Athletes cited objectivity of results, camaraderie, and mix of individual and team components as reasons they were drawn to their sports.
  • They each cited the mental aspect of their sports as their biggest challenge, with their individual nature requiring internal motivation and focus
  • the US Olympic Trials in swimming, track and gymnastics will be broadcast live on NBC 26 in June
  • The video shows each athlete training at facilities in De Pere and Ashwaubenon

(The following is a transcript of the full broadcast)

Olympic sports such as track, swimming and gymnastics are not always the first choice for young athletes, but they can teach them unique life lessons.

At De Pere, we report on the unique challenges facing young athletes in Olympic sports.

“You’re trying to overcome your fear, when it’s difficult or new,” Addison Fritsch said.

They may still be training with their coaches and teammates – but in competition, it’s just them and the obstacles. They and the neighborhood. They and the beam.

Like gymnast Addison Fritsch.

“You have to put yourself in that position,” Fritsch said. “You have to have the confidence and the right mindset to do the skill.”

Addison practices gymnastics at Starz Academy 16 hours a week. She likes having a team behind her.

“I feel more confident with them,” she said.

She wins banners – but knows that her motivation must come from within.

“It’s all mental,” Fritsch said. “Because if you always have a good mindset throughout training, it will be great.”

Edison’s sport will take center stage this summer at the Paris Olympics.

So is the sport of state champion swimmer Carly Larson.

“The Olympics are unlike anything else on the world stage,” Larson said. “So I think it’s definitely important for swimming to have its time in the spotlight.”

Carly says she hated swimming when she first tried it, but eventually fell in love with it.

“There’s always fear, like, ‘What if things don’t go as planned?'” Larson said. “But in the end, it’s always just you. Whatever you decide to put in, whatever you put in, you get out.”

These young athletes, like star De Pere distance runner Grady Lynn, say they love what they do — and know it’s their responsibility to do their best.

“You can’t blame the coaches,” Lynn said. “There’s not a lot of politics to it. It’s really ‘Can you manage the time and can you beat this person?’ There’s really not much of an excuse for that.”

The same goes for Grady’s teammate — Wisconsin’s No. 1 triple jumper, Andrew Cartier.

“If you’re in a difficult situation where you have another leap to say what you want or something like that, it’s definitely tough mentally,” Cartier said. “But you have to block all your bad jumps, and only do one jump at a time.”

Track and field has the second-highest number of participants nationwide on the boys’ side, behind only soccer, and the most participants on the girls’ side, according to NCAA statistics — meaning the sport’s popularity is strong, but championship competition is also more difficult. University or Olympic level.

The truth is that most athletes don’t come close to making it to the Olympics.

Carly, committed to freedom, is part of the 9% of high school swimmers who will make it to the NCAA — but even if every Olympic swimmer were an NCAA product, only 4% of them would make it to the Olympics.

“If I say like, ‘Oh, I’m aiming to lower the Olympic Trials this year,’ they’re like, ‘Oh, so you’re going to the Olympics,'” Larson said. “No, not quite,” I say.

But that doesn’t stop these young athletes like Addison from dreaming.

“I really want to try to get to the Olympics, if I do well in college,” Fritsch said. “If I keep pushing myself forward, it will help me reach greater heights.”

The Summer Olympics begin in Paris in July, but before then, the U.S. Olympics in track, swimming and gymnastics will kick off in June — and all the action will be here on NBC 26.





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