The Summer Olympic games are over! Congratulations to those bringing home medals for their country. We all look forward to the return of the games in Tokyo, four years from now. Watching our athletes excel on the international stage has no doubt inspired some of us to be more involved in sports to try their own luck at winning some gold for the country.
However, many might be intimidated or outright priced out by the expensive equipment and gear necessary to even get started. After all, not everybody has an Olympic-sized swimming pool easily accessible, or a bow and arrow and room for target practice, or a professionally-trained horse.
But don't worry, Olympic hopefuls! We've done our research and compiled a list of Olympic events you can train for right now without forking out too much cash from your wallet!
Athletics: Track & Field, Roadrunning, and Racewalking
You know that jogging thing you and plenty other people do every so often? That's already a sport! The closest Olympic event to that is of course roadrunning, where athletes run on a measured course over an established road as opposed to a track. All you need to train for this sport are running shoes and you're good to go.
Track & field events like sprinting, hurdles, and relays are a bit harder since you need to find a track and field, but the running part of it can pretty much be practiced anywhere on the open road (shot put, pole vault, and hammer throw events notwithstanding, of cours since they all require extra gear).
Racewalking is something you can try too. Distinguished from running in that one foot must be on the ground at all times when you're racing. You may recognise this race as the one where everyone walks, and training for this can be done pretty much anywhere outside.
Martial Arts: Boxing, Judo, Taekwondo, and Wrestling
The art of self defense has always been a part of the Olympics and for the most part, you don't need to purchase any fancy gear or equipment to get into this. You do need sparring partners and a teacher, however. Luckily, most martial arts centers offer a free trial period where you can learn basic skills for free.
Judo and wrestling require classes and sparring buddies since all the moves are dependent on the other fighter. Grapples and throws are impossible to practice alone. However, some part of taekwondo and boxing can be practiced solo.
Punches and kicks only require one person to do. You still need a teacher to guide you of course, but the lack of fancy equipment certainly makes this an economic choice.
If the idea of punching and kicking people is not your cup of tea, and you don't live in neighbourhood that's safe for running around, you can try gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics can be practiced in a community gym or hall pretty cheaply without having to purchase fancy tools.
Combining the elements of ballet, dance, and apparatus manipulation (a rope, hoops, balls, clubs, or ribbons), rhythmic gymnasts have to perform a piece of choreography that covers the entire floor and contains an even mix of jumps, leaps, pivots, flexibility movements, and balances.
The apparatus you use can be made of upcycled household items and you can practice this on your own if you're keen since there are categories of solo performance.
There you have it, three Olympic level sports you can start training for right away without having to purchase any expensive gear, equipment, or horses. Good luck in your pursuit towards Olympic gold! If you're not sure why gold medals are such a big deal, you should read up on what Malaysians stand to gain if they win first place at the Olympics and how much people are willing to pay for gold medals.