How to train like an Olympian regionally.

By Natasha Bourlin

While the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo has been rescheduled to begin July 23, 2021, several new additions will be added to the event’s athletic repertoire. The world will be watching next summer as shortboard surfing, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and baseball join for the first time, or return to the Olympics. Other sports like kayaking are adding three women’s event while eliminating three men’s.

Train like an Olympian right here in the Reno/ Tahoe region. Take on these fun and challenging sports at area training spots, then build up your mettle and go for your personal gold this spring.

Sport climbing for the win

BaseCamp Climbing in the Whitney Peak Hotel has a large bouldering gym along with the world’s tallest climbing wall affixed to its facade, towering 164 feet into the downtown Reno skyline. Try Rock Climbing for Beginners, an hour-long lesson that teaches basic techniques to get you scaling walls like Spiderman in no time. basecampreno.com

Whitney Peak Hotel Basecamp climbing gym (Alex Baker)

Surfing (yes, on Tahoe)

The moody Pacific surrounding Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan will serve up the sets to be tackled at the first Olympic surfing competition, but you can still learn to ride a board on water on Lake Tahoe.

While the lake isn’t known for its six-foot swells, Tahoe Surf Company knows how to create its own waves to ride. Strap into one of the wake surfer boards they manufacture, then some pros will show you how to shred behind a powerful Nautique boat. tahoesurfcompany.com


US Snowboard Olympians Andy Finch & Tommy Czeschin
US Snowboard Olympians Andy Finch & Tommy Czeschin (Alex Baker)

Hit a home run

America’s pastime returns to the world stage this year after a two-Olympic hiatus. To get in the literal swing of things, head to Tommy’s Grandstand in Sparks, home to multiple batting cages and other fun forms of family entertainment. Helmets and bats are included when you sign up to practice your hardball or softball. tommysgrandstand.com

To really get in the spirit of things, head to Greater Nevada Field for the Reno Aces’ “Go for the Gold Night” on July 25. The stadium will transform in homage to the Olympics, host their own minigames, give away gold Aces medals and more. After celebrating the Olympics at the ballpark, catch the Aces’ game that night at 6:35 p.m., or anytime during the team’s exhilarating season. milb.com/reno

Reno Aces
Reno Aces (Alex Baker)

Clear water kayaking

If you’ve never cut through the crystal blue on a sturdy piece of plastic inches above the water before, try kayaking this spring. You’ll get a new appreciation of the Olympic competitors’ upper body strength when you take a lesson from Kayak Tahoe. Whether you’re a beginner or seeking to perfect your paddling, their American Canoe Association-certified instructors can help you get comfortable in a kayak. kayaktahoe.com

Skateboarding ramps up

Once considered a rebellious activity, skateboarding is making its global mark as it enters the competitive Olympic field. Skatehouse Skate Park in South Lake Tahoe is an indoor place to rip … or learn to. You can find rental boards, lessons and other gear at their shop, then practice in their park, and you’ll be doing gnarly nosegrinds in no time. @skatetahoe

Kickin’ karate

This Japanese form of martial arts will be right at home during its emergence at the Olympics this summer. Zai Martial Arts in Reno has a full spectrum of techniques to teach students of all ages, along with a beneficial self-defense program. Learning from their masterful instructors will allow you to watch with comprehension and rapt attention as the karate competition ensues on the screen. zaixma.com

Archery is a bullseye

A new mixed-team component will be added to the Olympic archery battle this year. Pros at Reno’s Wasting Arrows Indoor Archery Range have not only trained actual Olympians, but can show novices how to shoot an arrow into a static target too. Learn basic principles in a short time, take a private lesson, or join their “Try Archery” group education sessions to see if it’s your thing. wastingarrows.com

Wasting Arrows
Wasting Arrows

Instead of just envying the athletes from your armchair this summer, try out the sports yourself and elevate watching the Olympic Games with your newfound expertise.