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Karsten Warholm is proof that Texas should adopt Norway’s approach to youth athletics

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: August 4, 2021

Kelly McKowen is an assistant professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

Any parent who has visited a park in Dallas on the weekend has likely seen something like this: a dad, dressed more or less like a coach, has his child or children running between cones, catching passes, kicking goals, hurling fastballs. It might be 9 a.m. on a Saturday, but for these kids it is the final minutes of the Super Bowl, the bottom of the ninth in Game 7, or penalty kicks at the World Cup final. The theory here is simple: Intensity from a young age builds champions.

But not everyone agrees. This week in Tokyo, Norway’s Karsten Warholm shattered the world record for the 400 meter hurdles. The race is already being hailed as one of the best in Olympic history. Warholm used his global platform to praise, of all things, his home country’s approach to youth athletics.

“I like the Norwegian sports model,” he said, according to the Financial Times. “I think a lot of people can learn from it. I never felt any pressure. My parents never pushed me, but that also created something inside me that I had my own drive, I had my own flame.” READ MORE