Happy New Year – My 2017 (& beyond) plans!

Happy New Year to all, I wish you and your families a happy and healthy 2017.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. No resolutions. January is a tough enough month without wholesale life changes and giving up stuff. I’ll wait til at least light comes back to the northern hemisphere for that crap.

I have been considering my plans for the Olympic Challenge going into 2017. I have until the opening ceremony in Tokyo 2020 to complete competing in all 30-odd sports and although I can lie here on my surprisingly comfortable sofa and think that Summer 2020 is ages away, I quickly identified that actually I would need to average a sport every two months or less to hit my target.

In addition, I have realised that it would be better if at least some of the sports I have a go at have a bit more of an interesting angle than just me attending a session, so I will be broadening my horizons somewhat in 2017 and hopefully entertaining you with more elaborate adventures and interesting articles from my challenge and also general sport opinion pieces.

Below you will see a fairly hastily planned representation of what I intend to do and when, over the next few years. You will see that it conveniently ignores the fast approaching birth of my son and heir, which may have a greater impact on this timetable than anything else! But maybe he can come with me on the horse at the end of the plan! It also appears to include handball twice…not sure how that happened but I will definitely only do it once. This may mean that I have missed something off, but this is only a rough outline anyway. If you spot any sport missing then please let me know!


Despite having been to a couple of hockey training sessions already I haven’t yet made my debut for the club so that continues on into 2017. In addition, you can see that I intend to hit the ground running in the next few months by ticking off boxing, fencing and judo. I have already made preliminary enquiries with local providers of these sports and hopefully I will be able to get going with these pretty quickly and show you how I get on.

There are many reasons why I want to share this timetable with you guys:

a) It keeps me motivated to complete the challenge.

2. If anyone would like to join me in trying anything new then you know approximately when I am doing it and can get in touch with me to arrange things.

c) If anyone has any offers for provision of these sports then please get in touch with me through @andywatsonsport on Twitter or andywatson555@gmail.com and I would be happy to listen to ideas that you may have.

4. It can answer some questions that people have on what sports are included in the challenge and what I have done and what I will do.

But it doesn’t answer all questions. To finish this blog post off I am going to just do a little Q&A session containing some of the most popular questions that I have faced through the first four months of northeastolympics.com:

Q. Why are you doing this?

A. I don’t really know. I wanted to do something out of the ordinary after watching two weeks of amazing human beings doing exactly that in Rio, but I knew that, at 31, I was never going to be able to become an Olympian in any sport, so I thought why not just try every Olympic sport instead? Then I realised that trying to do it all in the local area would also raise awareness of the facilities, or lack thereof, in the north-east of England and hopefully could inspire someone, anyone, to get out there and use some of those facilities themselves.

Q. What standard are you going to get to in every sport?

A. I just set myself the target of competing in each one, to just attend a session. However, some sports I’m already proficient at, such as badminton, football, tennis, golf, diving (one of those is a joke), I will come up with a more compelling goal than just going to a session, otherwise there is no challenge and no interest. I don’t think I should have to compete in events or hit a certain level in every sport though, that would be taking it too far and would be impossible to do in a short space of time, especially with so many other commitments in my life.

Q. Are you doing a marathon?

A. Er, no. 

Q. Isn’t that cheating?

A. Well the thing is that the marathon is just an event within the wider sport of athletics (track & field) and so yes I will do a selection of events from that sport, but at this time I am not planning on putting myself though the maximum distance when it isn’t strictly necessary. I am sure you wouldn’t expect me to fight at every different weight category or try every swimming stroke at every distance.

Q. Are you doing an Olympic distance triathlon?

A. Maybe. I’m not entirely sure yet, there are a lot of variables between now and 2020 when I plan on doing it. I have left it to last because I think it’ll be the most difficult one to do and hopefully I’ll be fitter (though also older) by that point. As well as having been through athletics, cycling and swimming already.


Q. What are you most/least looking forward to?

A. Most looking forward to trying handball and sport climbing. Least looking forward to the water based sports, swimming, diving and synchro, I’m not the greatest swimmer and I’ve always thought I would die drowning!! Bit of a sombre and weird thought I know (Soz Mrs. W)

Q. What if there are no clubs in the northeast that do wrestling/synchro/baseball?

A. Well if that is the case then it brings to light a problem in provision that needs addressing, but practically it would mean for me that I would try to find a club/coach elsewhere who could do it.

Q. You must be a fitness geek or something. (technically not a question I know)

A. Nope. I’m a 31 year old man child who can’t be bothered to shave regularly, totally inflexible (just look at my taekwondo video) and at least 15kg overweight. I enjoy jelly sweets far too much and cannot stand to eat cauliflower, beans, brussel sprouts or, especially, eggs. Also, portion size is a real issue for me. But what I love is sport, and I have a huge belief that the power of sport can help change things in society for the better.  I may well be naive or stupid but that’s me and that’s what I’m trying to achieve 🙂

As always, any questions, feedback or comment is more than welcome.

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