Michael Phelps. LeBron James. Olympig.
OK, so you probably haven’t heard of that last athlete. But Boomer the Pig, the star of the new children’s book Olympig!, could become a big inspiration for kids who want to be compete but might not have the talent to capture gold.
And the author of the book is aiming to use the tome to bring “Kid Olympics” events to communities throughout the country, inspiring children to get physically active in their own Olympic-inspired events.
The book follows Boomer as he competes in several events in the Animal Olympics, including track and field and diving. But unlike medal contenders like Phelps and James, Boomer isn’t a top athlete — and he’s a bad sport about it.
But by the time Boomer makes it to the gymnastics competition, he’s learned a big lesson: That competing is rewarding in itself. Even though he once again finishes last, he gains a sense of sportsmanship.
Olympig is the brainchild of author and designer Victoria Jamieson, who tells the Inside Track in that a love of the Olympic Games (combined with her, shall we say, lack of athletic prowless) inspired her to write the book.
“I was very much a kid who didn’t win a lot of athletic events,” she says. “I wasn’t always a good sport.”
Jamieson’s love of the Olympics began when she was a child during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. Her mom helped organize a block party for the neighborhood with an Olympics theme — kids competed in various events and earned medals.
Jamieson had her heart set on capturing the gymnastics gold (this was the summer of Mary Lou Retton, after all). But alas, she lost. “There’s a picture of me in tears,” she recalls, laughing.
Although Jamieson didn’t turn out to be a star gymnast, she did capture gold in the marathon competition (a run around the block in the neighborhood event). It foreshadowed future accomplishments: As an adult, she has finished two marathons.
The neighborhood Olympics also solidified Jamieson’s love of the games, which she hopes to share with a new generation with Olympig! Along with releasing the book, Jamieson is working with parents, schools, community centers and others to host Kid Olympics events.
Kid Olympics include opening and closing ceremonies and events such as a three-legged race, 50 yard dash, hula-hoop competition, egg on a spoon race, jump rope and even limbo. Jamieson hopes to hold the first Kid Olympics during a book signing next week that coincides with the opening ceremonies of the actual Olympic Games.
Don't miss the rest of the Inside Track! Find out how First Lady Michelle Obama is using the Olympics to inspire Americans to get active. Plus: Learn why one PreventObesity.net Leader thinks young people must be involved in the childhood obesity movement for it to succeed.