We can't all be like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, winning a gazillion gold medals, making a fortune on endorsements and wrecking Stuart Scott's computer for a SportsCenter promo. But we can try our hand at a variety of Olympic sports—some well-known and some not so much—right here in our backyard. And what better place to practice than the potential site of the 2016 games?
The skinny: The Chicago Kayak Club offers lessons for beginners and for more advanced athletes. It also sponsors trips to such varied locales as the Florida Everglades and Wisconsin's Apostle Islands.
Where you can train/practice: Beginner classes take place at the Skokie Lagoons, while intermediate instruction is on Lake Michigan.
Cost: An introductory class runs $75. Membership in the Chicago Kayak Club is $100 a year.
On the Web: chicagokayak.com
The skinny: If you want to learn a new sport but are strapped for cash, this could be the way to go. The Lincoln Park Archery Club offers regular clinics for adults and kids 8 and older; many are free and others cost just $10. But note that pre-registration is required. And no, there won't be any knocking apples off heads like in the William Tell legend.
Where you can train/practice: The club's range is on Belmont Harbor Drive in Lincoln Park.
Cost: Club membership costs $25 plus a $10 non-refundable key fee.
On the Web: lincolnparkarcheryclub.org
The skinny: Chicagoans love their hoops, and what better place to satisfy our basketball jones than Attack Athletics—the gym run by Michael Jordan's long-time personal trainer, Tim Grover, and now frequented by the likes of NBA star (and Chicago-area native) Dwyane Wade.
Where you can play: Attack, which features four NBA-sized courts among other amenities, is at 2641 W. Harrison St. in Chicago.
Cost: Prices for gym rental, skill camps and other services are available by calling (773) 826-2300.
On the Web: attackathletics.com
The skinny: Fencing has a rich tradition in Chicagoland, thanks in no small part to the efforts of veteran Northwestern coach Laurie Schiller, whose women's teams have finished in the top 10 in the NCAA tournament each of the past nine seasons.
Where you can train/practice: The Chicago Fencing Club holds practice sessions at Parkview Lutheran Church, 3919 N. Monticello in Chicago.
Cost: The club has a variety of instructional and practice options, including an introductory class for adults that lasts eight weeks and costs $150.
On the Web: chicagofencingclub.com
Sport: Field hockey
The skinny: This fast-paced outdoor game can be as physical as the version played indoors on ice (and next New Year's Day, by the Blackhawks and Red Wings at Wrigley Field). For proof, just consider the extensive body armor worn by goalies.
Where you can train/practice: The Chicago Field Hockey Club, a co-ed group, holds weekly scrimmages at Northwestern University.
Cost: Club membership is $100 for students and $150 for full members, which includes $50 for membership in the U.S. Field Hockey Association.
On the Web: chicagofhc.com
Sport: Table tennis
The skinny: Maybe you play it in your basement rec room and call it ping pong. But it's also a good cardio activity. Chi-Slam Club commissioner Ardy S. Taveerasert notes on the club's website that playing several times a week helped him drop 20 pounds.
Where you can train/play: Chi-Slam has several locations throughout the city, though not all are open during the summer. Check the club website for more info.
Cost: $5 a table for non-members. USA Table Tennis has a variety of membership levels; the basic adult rate is $40 per year.
On the Web: chislamclub.com
The skinny: Most competitive wrestling in the U.S. is of the so-called "folkstyle" variety, but in major international events like the Olympics you'll see freestyle and Greco-Roman action.
Where you can train/compete: The Chicago Cyclones Wrestling Club, which bills itself as the city's "only Senior/Vet level-specific club," is headquartered at Quad's Gym, 3727 N. Broadway.
Cost: Practices, which are held Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, run $5 apiece or $20 per month. Wrestlers also are encouraged to join USA Wrestling; memberships cost $35 per year.
On the Web: wrestlechicago.com