Sioux Falls, SD As team U.S.A. continues to excel at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, they’re inspiring the nation’s next generation of athletes.
“It’s like a super bowl to us, every four years,” 14-year-old Sioux Falls Swimmer Sam Johnson said.
Many students on the Sioux Falls swim team have been glued to the Olympics all week as they idolize many of the athletes on the U.S. swim team.
“My favorite swimmer is Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte,” 10-year-old swimmer Bella Johnson said.
“You can tell that they're excited about the sport and are excited to see what those athletes that they idol are doing and its something they can see themselves doing some day,” Sioux Falls swim team coach Lindsie Micko said.
“That's my dream, I have a feeling that's what every swimmer around my age wants to be,” Sam Johnson said.
“When I grow up I want to be in the Olympics and you have to go really fast to go into the Olympics,” 9-year-old Dori Sproles said.
The Rio Olympics have young athletes in every sport working hard for one big goal.
“It inspires me, because you can tell how hard they work, it makes me want to work just as hard,” 15-year-old gymnast Alisha Hampkins said.
“It just teaches them something about having a dream and having a dream big enough,” Kathy Champoux, the owner of Power & Grace Gymnastics in Sioux Falls, said. “Not many athletes are going to make the Olympics…but there will be four.”
As team U.S.A. continues to win gold, more kids become interested in trying out many different Olympic sports.
“People call a lot with questions, want to know what age it starts, how our programs run, what they are going to be doing and seeing while they're here,” Champoux said.
“We are going to see a huge bump, we always do during the Olympic years,” Swim coach Micko said. “It’s not one of the most well known sports, so when they are able to see it on the TV it’s like, ‘ah, I want to do that’, so it does get more kids interested in the sport.”