Ignite your family’s Olympic spirit in OKC - MetroFamily Magazine
MetroFamily Magazine

Where OKC parents find fun & resources

Ignite your family’s Olympic spirit in OKC

provided by RIVERSPORT OKC

by Lindsay Cuomo

Reading Time: 7 minutes 

The 2024 summer Olympic games are being held in Paris, France, but those of us in Oklahoma can find fun and creative ways to try out some of the sports we’ll be streaming, right here in the metro. Whether you’re looking to try something new or want to create your own backyard games, we’ve got the insider scoop on local activities and ideas that will get your family moving and having fun.

Try the novice versions of these Olympic sports at locales around the metro.

Archery

According to Olympics.com, archery is one of the oldest sports and made its Olympic debut in 1900. It was reintroduced in 1972 after a 52-year hiatus. The first recorded tournament took place in China over 3,000 years ago.

OKC Parks and Recreation offers an archery for beginners class for ages 10 & up. The one-hour course held at Martin Park Nature Center focuses on safety and skill development. Equipment is provided, including bows and arrows. They also host archery games for adults. Learn more at okc.gov/departments/parks-recreation.


Cycling

Cycling has been an Olympic sport since the first games in 1896. Today, cycling covers five disciplines with 11 different events, including road cycling, track cycling, BMX racing, BMX freestyle and mountain biking.

Get your family in on the action by visiting one of the many biking trails in the metro. Oklahoma City has nearly 100 miles of multi-use trails! SCIP Recreational Trail at Soldier Creek Industrial Park in Midwest City and The Kelly Farm & Bike Trails in Yukon are great for beginners.

Arcadia Lake and Lake Hefner are popular cycling destinations offering paved trails with picturesque views.

RIVERSPORT’s bike park has a mountain bike skills course plus three world-class mountain bike/BMX courses. The park, which serves as a hub for the Greenway River Trails, is open to the public except for select times. Learn more at riversportokc.org.

Creekside Bike Park in southeast Norman features various bike amenities for a variety of skill levels, including off-road trails, a technical skills area and a children’s biking playground.

Fun Fact: France holds the most gold medals in cycling, while Great Britain has earned the most total cycling medals at 100. The United States has 60.


Swimming

With greats such as Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Jenny Thompson and Katie Ledecky leading the way, the United States leads the gold medal count in swimming by nearly 200! Almost one quarter of all U.S. gold medals have been earned in the pool.

Mitch Park YMCA

Olympic swimming consists of 20 events, including open-water races. Future Olympic hopefuls (and the rest of us novice swimmers) will surely be showcasing our skills at our favorite public and backyard pools all summer long.

Olympic athletes make what they do look easy, but swimming more than 160 feet in a matter of seconds is no joke. Visit one of the metro’s lap pools to see how you stack up. Some of our favorites include the Mitch Park YMCA in Edmond, The Station Aquatic Center in Moore, Westwood Family Aquatic Center in Norman and the Family Aquatic Center at the Willa D. Johnson Recreation Center.

Amp up the fun by trying out different swimming techniques – front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly – to see which your family finds most challenging. Then, create your own aquatic contest such as who can make the smallest splash, float the longest or swim the fastest.

Fun Fact: Michael Phelps has earned the most Olympic medals at 28. The next Team USA athlete on the list is Jenny Thompson, tied at 13th place with 12.


Trampolining

provided by Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Did you know that trampolining is an Olympic sport? It’s true! This childhood pastime turned Olympic sport joined the International Gymnastics Federation in 1998 and the Olympic line-up in 2000. Trampolinists bounce more than 26 feet in the air to perform a series of highly technical and precise twists and somersaults as they are scored according to difficulty, execution and time spent in the air.

While Olympic trampolining does require a do-not-try-this-at-home warning, your family can get into the Olympic spirit on a smaller scale at a local trampoline park to get an idea of just how challenging the sport is. There are several in the metro, including Urban Air in Moore, Get Air in Norman and Oklahoma City and Sky Zone and Surge Adventure Park in Edmond.

Fun Fact: The People’s Republic of China has won 14 of the 36 trampolining Olympic medals. The highest Team USA has placed is sixth.


Paddlesports

Evy Leibfarth, Olympic Trials Canoe/Kayak

Oklahoma City has close ties to some of Team USA’s paddlesport athletes since the path to Paris for three paddlesport events flowed through RIVERSPORT Rapids via the 2024 Olympic Team Trials this past April. Oklahomans had a front-row seat to see one of the newest Olympic events, Kayak Cross, a head-to-head race that pits athletes against each other as well as the clock.

Recreate a mini-version of the Kayak Cross at RIVERSPORT’s downtown or Lake Overholser locations. Olympic athletes traverse a challenging whitewater course, but flatwater kayaking is a great option for novice paddlesport participants. RIVERSPORT also offers rowing, whitewater rafting, tubing and stand-up paddle boarding. Learn more at riversportokc.org.

Fun Fact: OKC will likely host two Olympic events during the LA28 games, softball and canoe slalom!


For even more creative Olympic family fun, check out three options to get into the spirit of the 2024 games.

  1. Pickleball courts, Scissortail Lower Park

    Create your own Olympic adventure with a visit to Scissortail Park – Challenge your family to an afternoon of competition! Scissortail’s Lower Park includes a soccer pitch and practice field, plus futsal, pickleball and basketball courts. Craft some fun medals to award the winners and pack a picnic or snacks to keep everyone fueled. You will need to bring your own sports equipment, too.

  2. Craft your own Olympic games at home  – Get into the Olympic spirit with an active game night. Think balloon volleyball, relay races, water balloon shot put, a stick-horse equestrian jumping course or pool noodle javelin toss. You can even recreate a balance beam with sidewalk chalk or tape. The best part is you can customize your competitions to fit your family’s ages and interests. Invite the neighbors for added fun! Transform your backyard into an Olympic arena. Have each participant make their own flag and host a mini-opening ceremony. An empty paper towel roll stuffed with red, orange and yellow tissue paper or cellophane makes a kid-friendly torch. Use stairs or crates for a winners’ podium to award your store-bought or DIY medals.
  3. Destination Paris – Dive into French culture with books, food, games and movies. Sample French cuisine locally at Ganache Patisserie, Café Cuvee or La Baguette Bistro. Learn how to make macarons at Belle’s Kitchen or croissants at Sur la Table. Sweet and savory crepes use simple ingredients and are easy to customize for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try out some French games such as Pétanque, which is similar to Bocce ball, or Escargot, a French variation of hopscotch with a snail-shaped path of squares.

How to play Pétanque

Goal: Be the first player or team to score thirteen points. Points are earned by having one or more boules (balls) closest to the jack (a smaller ball).

Equipment: 12 larger roughly 3-inch boules, one smaller roughly 1-inch ball to be used as the jack, a throwing space of about 13 feet x49 feet

  1. Form teams and draw a circle at one end of the throwing space. Flip a coin to see who goes first.
  2. The player going first throws the jack from the circle using an underhand toss. The jack should be thrown at least 15 feet, but should not leave the throwing area. Then, the same team throws their boules toward the jack.
  3. The team that doesn’t have a boule closest to the jack throws again until they do, or are out of boules. The team with a boule closest to the jack wins the round.
  4. Opponents can try to knock the other team’s boules away from the jack. Continue throwing until both teams are out of boules.
  5. The winning team of each round earns one point for each of their boules that are closer to the jack than the losing team.

How to play Escargot

Goal: Be the last player to make it through the escargot

Equipment: chalk and a flat concrete playing surface

  1. Draw a circle large enough to stand in and label it home. Then, draw a spiral out from the center circle. Try to maintain a consistent width as it curves around. Divide the spiral into at least 10 equal squares. The bigger the spiral, the harder the game play will be.
  2. Players start at the home circle and hop on one foot to the end of the spiral.
  3. They put their initials in a box if they make it to the end without switching feet or stepping on a line or outside a box. Players may rest two feet in any box with their initials.
  4. The next player starts at the home circle and hops on one foot to the end but must hop over any squares with opponents’ initials.
  5. The game is over when players can no longer make it to the end of the spiral.

Experience French culture with our top movie and book recs for kids.

Family-friendly French movies available on streaming services:

  • Astérix: Le Secret de la Potion Magique (The Secret of the Magic Potion), best suited for ages 8 & up
  • Le Sommet des Dieux (The Summit of the Gods), best suited for ages 11 & up
  • Mystere (Vicky and Her Mystery), best suited for ages 8 & up
  • Un monstre à Paris (A Monster in Paris), best suited for ages 8 & up
  • Belle and Sabastian, best suited for ages 11 & up

Children’s books set in Paris

  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, best suited for ages 1-5
  • This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek, best suited for ages 2-8
  • Poppy Takes Paris: A Little Girl’s Adventures in the City of Light by Allison Pataki, best suited for ages 4-8
  • Peril in Paris by Katherine Woodfine, best suited for ages 6-12

However your family plans to celebrate the 2024 Olympic games, we hope these ideas will fuel active fun exploring OKC and enhancing family bonds!

more stories

Verified by MonsterInsights