• Wed. Nov 24th, 2021

Utah sports venues and gyms offer some of the lesser-known sports of the Summer Games.

ByMary M. Ward

Aug 12, 2021

Editor’s Note • This article is part of 150 Things To Do, a draft report and newsletter exploring the best of Utah. Click here to subscribe to the weekly 150 Things newsletter.

Have you been inspired by the jumps of gymnast MyKayla Skinner, the speed of athletics star Gabrielle Thomas or the skills of swimmer Katie Ledecky?

Keep the Olympic flame alight as you learn a lesser-known sport at one of Utah’s many sports venues and gyms.

The Utah Olympic Park in Park City – where some of the events of the 2002 Olympics were held – is an obvious place to start. It offers summer activities for novices and aspiring Olympians, said Kole Nordmann, director of marketing and media production at the facility.

You don’t have to wait for snow to try summer bobsleigh, freestyle ski and snowboard lessons in the pool, zipline tours, extreme tubing and the downhill slide. These activities are chargeable, so check the Utah Olympic Park website for more information.

There are plenty of free things to do, Nordmann said, including hiking trails, the park’s two museums, and watching athletes throughout their training programs.

“You don’t see the grind every day,” Nordmann said. “[So seeing them train] humanizes athletes. … It’s their job. They have to do these things every day.

Here are a few more ways to play like an Olympian in Utah.

(Ross D. Franklin | Associated Press) A collection of arrows on an archery target. Thursday April 30, 2020.

Archery

From Marvel’s Hawkeye to Disney’s Princess Merida, there’s no shortage of characters who wield bows and arrows.

But the real experts were found at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where Mete Gazoz from Turkey won gold in the men’s individual competition and An San from South Korea won gold in the women’s individual competition.

There are a number of places in Utah where everyone from novices to experienced archers can practice their goal:

Easton Foundations Archery Center in Salt Lake offers archery equipment rentals for $ 5-10 per hour. The equipment includes a bow, five arrows, a quiver and an arm guard.

Salt Lake Archery offers archery lessons for children Monday through Friday evenings. Classes cost $ 8 per child and include equipment, shooting time, and lessons from certified instructors.

The Wilde Arrow Archery Indoor Shooting Range in Centerville costs $ 5 per day for youth and $ 8 per day for adults. The common archery store and range also offers a series of beginner archery lessons; the first costs $ 30 per person and provides the equipment to use.

(Silvia Izquierdo | Associated Press) Ryan Chew of the United States watches the wheel during the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

Badminton

Players – singly or in pairs – hit a shuttlecock through a net in the racquet sport, which officially became part of the 1992 Olympics.

In Utah, aspiring badminton players can try the game courtesy of the Utah Badminton Association at the Dimple Dell Fitness & Recreation Center in Sandy. It costs $ 5 per day.

The University of Utah Badminton Club also invites anyone interested in the sport to join them at the George Rice Eccles Student Life Center. Days and times vary by semester; admission for non-students is $ 6 with student sponsorship. See the club’s Facebook page for more information.

(Photo from related press kit) Gold medalist Chloe Esposito of Australia, left, faces American Isabella Isaksen at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fencing

If daring sword fights or epic duels sound exhilarating to you, then this sport may be for you.

The sport involves speed, agility, and “chess-like strategic thinking,” according to the Wasatch Fencing website.

This year, American Lee Kiefer won gold in the women’s individual foil.

The Salt City Swords Fencing Club (formerly Utah Sword Academy) is located at 3536 S. West Temple. For $ 95 per month, plus a $ 30 equipment fee, beginners can take one class per week.

Wasatch Fencing in Kaysville will give potential fencers a one hour lesson with a coach for $ 35. After that, adults pay a one-time registration fee of $ 200 to cover equipment and gym fees for the first month. (Registration is $ 100 if a fencer already has equipment.) Monthly post registration fees vary. Visit the website for more details.

The Valkyrie Fencing Club in Pleasant Grove offers a four-week trial membership for $ 120. This includes eight training and instruction sessions and the use of club equipment.

(Petr David Josek | Associated Press) Denmark’s Mikkel Hansen shoots during the Handball World Championship final match against Sweden in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday, January 31, 2021.

Handball

This game was first played in Scandinavia and Germany in the late 19th century, according to the Team USA website. these are two teams of seven players who pass a ball with their hands in order to throw it into the other team’s goal,

It was originally introduced as an outdoor summer sport at the 1939 Olympics, but has been practiced as a summer indoor sport since 1972.

Utah residents can purchase a one-year membership in the Utah Handball Association for $ 50. The group meets at Sports Mall in Murray on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

However, Patrick Halladay, a representative of the Massif SLC Team Handball Club, clarified that the Utah Handball Association is affiliated with a different version of the sport than that used at the Olympics.

“It’s more like racquetball played with the palm of your hand,” he said. “Because of this confusion, Olympic handball is called ‘team handball’ in the United States”

Halladay also said that the Massif SLC Team Handball Club play team handball (the Olympic version of the sport) and meet every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sandy Elementary Futsal Courts.

For more information, check out the club’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

(Hiro Komae | Associated Press) Judo teacher Tomoo Hamana watches his students at the Hamana Dojo in the city of Oiso, west of Tokyo, October 1, 2020.

Judo

This combat sport requires physical prowess and mental discipline, according to the Team USA website, and involves techniques that allow competitors to lift, throw and pin their opponents.

Despite this, the word “judo” literally means “the path of gentleness”, from the Japanese character “ju” meaning “gentle” and “do” meaning “the path”.

In Tokyo, Japanese athletes won gold in five weight classes for men, while four more Japanese judokas won gold in four weight classes for women.

Both adults and children can learn the moves at Rocky Mountain Judo in Midvale. The first visits are free, then the tuition is $ 80 per month.

The Lehi Judo Club also offers classes for adults and children. After a one-week free trial, tuition is $ 70 per month for one to two classes per week or $ 90 per month for unlimited classes.

Kaizen Judo Dojo in Clearfield has a monthly membership for $ 60 per person and a family membership for four for $ 125 per month.

Editor’s Note • 150 Things To Do is a reporting project and weekly newsletter made possible through the generous support of the Utah Tourist Board. Subscribe to the 150 things newsletter here.



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