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What Summer Olympic Event Could an Average-Sized, Middle-Aged Man or Woman Start Training for and Have the Best Chance to Medal in 8 Years?

Posted: 08/08/2012 10:00 pm

This question originally appeared on Quora.

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By Aaron Ellis, High School Track Coach

Back in 1997, Academy Award-nominated actress Geena Davis took up archery. She was forty one years old at the time. By 1999, she was one of the top fifty Americans in the event. She finished twenty fourth at the Olympic trials for archery. This was out of three hundred competitors.

Why did Geena Davis, a woman with no athletic background, decide to take up archery? She was inspired by 1996 Olympic champion Justin Huish, who took up the sport at age fourteen, made the U.S. archery team at age eighteen, and won two Olympic gold medals at age twenty.

Huish isn't alone. Jennifer Nichols took up archery at age twelve. Nine years later, she made the 2004 Olympic at age twenty one.

In two years, Geena Davis became one of the top twenty five archers in America. In six years, Justin Huish became the top archer in the world. Nichols became an Olympian in nine years.

By no means do I suggest that archery is an easy sport. Most elite archers spend their lifetime dedicated to the sport on a professional and recreational level. But assuming vision and strength are in good shape, if I had to recommend one sport for someone to take up late in life with a chance at the Olympics, it would be archery.

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