ADHD OlympicsI was thinking about how many awards events there are out there: Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, heck, there are even child beauty pageants (ew) and an Olympics just for farmers!

While a lot of us with ADHD started off with high aspirations and great expectations, by the time we’re diagnosed as adults we can feel downright demoralized. Sometimes we feel like we’ll never excel at anything. This is depressing.

So – how about an ADHD Olympics? At least if we had our own Olympics, we’d have a chance at a gold medal.

Turns out, there’s a lot of overlap between the Olympics and the life of someone with ADHD. Here are a few things we can relate to: coaches, extremes, drugs, the need for structure, addictions, injuries, angry outbursts (à la Serena Williams’ most recent melt-down and abusive verbal tirade at the 2011 US Open), sex appeal (can you say, beach volleyball), danger (can you say, skeleton? Plus, I’m much more likely to ride a cookie sheet down an ice track than bake cookies.)…you get the idea.

The Olympics even features hyperfocus (training), and antisocial behavior (Ms. Williams et al). It’s got athletes who self-medicate (Michael Phelps’ marijuana scandal. Then again, Phelps HAS ADHD, so he’s just one of legions of ADHDers who self-medicate with weed. See? He should switch to the ADHD Olympics. WE wouldn’t penalize him. Heck, we’d expect our Olympians to smoke dope).

I’ve done a bit of brainstorming, and come up with a few ideas for events:

Procrastination Event
– winner also eligible to apply to the Guinness World Records

Impulsivity Event
– team event; the team with the most spontaneous and completely unrelated moves by team members wins

Worst Memory Event
– bonus points if you forget to show up

Hyperactivity Event
– like a triathlon, except there are 27 sports instead of 3

ADHD Biathlon Event
– like the regular Olympics, combines cross-country skiing and shooting; excellent for ADHDers who’ve done jail time

Cougar Beach Volleyball
– women’s event; for ADHD women with hyperactivity (and hyperactive libidos)

ADHD Olympics will provide a competitive venue for all ADHDers. Let’s face it, we can’t all be elite athletes like Michael Phelps; but – I’m sure our very own Olympics will feature lots more innovation and out-of-the-boxing-ring thinking than the regular Olympics. On the other hand, examples of innovation abound in the original event (which is no surprise, since it’s populated with ADHDers and those with ADD traits).  Take Abebe Bikila. Bikila was the first East African to win an Olympic medal in 1960. This is pretty cool in and of itself, but the truly ADHD-ness of it was, he did it in bare feet! (A man after our own hearts. I’d like to award him an honorary gold medal from the ADHD Olympics for Most Unusual Marathon Style).

So folks, here’s your chance to put structure in your life: start training for the ADHD Olympics now!

For more information:

Athletes Diagnosed With ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder

ADHD Medication and Sports: Is There an Advantage?

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    Last reviewed: 3 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2011). ADHD Olympics. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2015, from


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