The Atlantic

How to Parent an Olympic Athlete

A new book gathers tips from a town that’s sent a competitor to almost every Winter Olympics for the past 30 years.
Source: Charlie Riedel / AP

Editor’s Note: Read more of The Atlantic’s Winter Olympics 2018 coverage.

Watching a kid’s (usually mediocre) school piano recital can be enough to elicit in her parent a range of emotions, from fear to excitement to overflowing pride. What happens when the big event is not a rec-room recital but, say, the Winter Olympics?

Being the parent of a competitive athlete comes with all kinds of pressures. But Karen Crouse, a sports writer who has attended around ten Olympic games over the past few decades, stumbled upon a kind of parenting utopia where, in her view, parents are really getting it right. That utopia is Norwich, Vermont, a charming town with roughly 3,000 residents. It has a historic inn and spotty cell service; households’ groceries are added to a running tab that families pay off at the end of the month. But Norwich is big in other ways: The

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