Olympic Leaders

Grade Levels: 4 - 6


Each student will research the accomplishments of one Olympic athlete.

  • Students will write a one page description of the athlete.
  • Students will give an oral presentation about the athlete.


    • Reference Materials (see web resources and literature tie-ins)
    • "Report Starters" list (below)
    • Paper and pencils
    • Dress Up clothes


    1. Ask students to write down the name of any Olympic athlete they know.
    2. Share the results as a group and write these names on the board.
    3. Read the "Report Starters" handout aloud. Write the names of the athletes mentioned in the handout on the board.
    4. Ask students to select an athlete whose accomplishments sound interesting to them.
    5. Explain that students will be required to write a one page report from the point of view of the athlete about his/her accomplishments. This report must contain descriptions of the following:
      • The athlete's home country
      • How and where he/she grew up
      • How he/she started as an athlete
      • Year(s) and location(s) of Olympic games in which the athlete participated
      • Description of Olympic accomplishments achieved by the athlete
      • Description of where he/she is now.

    6. Allow students time to browse through references and collect information.
    7. Assign report writing as homework.
    8. Once report has been written and edited by the teacher, ask students to dress up as if they are the athlete and present the report in front of the class.

    Report Starters

    • At the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, men's moguls freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first ever Olympic gold on home soil.
    • 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci earned the first perfect score, a ten, at the 1976 Olympics and went on to score six more tens and win three gold medals.
    • In 1988 Greg Louganis of the United States won the gold medal in springboard diving at the Summer Olympics in South Korea, the day after he struck and injured his head on the board in the preliminary round.
    • Only four athletes have ever won medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games: Eddie Eagan (United States), Jacob Tullin Thams (Norway), Christa Luding-Rothenburger (East Germany), and Clara Hughes (Canada).
    • Speed skater Apolo Ohno won eight medals at the Winter Olympic Games. That's more than any other American athlete.
    • Nobody has won more medals at the Winter Games than cross-country skier Bjorn Dahlie of Norway, who has 12.
    • Larrisa Latynina, a gymnast from the former Soviet Union, finished her Summer Olympic Games career with 18 total medals; the most in history.
    • Australia's Kieran Perkins is considered one of the world's best-ever long-distance swimmers, he won two Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996 in the 1500-metre freestyle, and a silver medal in 2000
    • Ian Thorpe, a swimmer, holds the record for the most gold medals won by an Australian at the Olympics
    • Tara Lipinski, a figure skater from the U.S., won the 1998 women's figure skating gold medal at the Olympics in Nagano, becoming the youngest in history (15 yrs.,7 mos.) to do so.
    • Michael Johnson, a track and field runner, shattered the world record in the 200m (19.32) and set an Olympic record in the 400m (43.49) to become the first man to win the gold in both races in the same Olympic Games at Atlanta in 1996.
    • Michelle Kwan, a U.S. figure skater, won the silver medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
    • At the 1948 Winter Olympics in Switzerland, Barbara Ann Scott became the first Canadian to win a gold medal in figure skating.

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