Coach Zauner Launches 'Kicking For The Gold' Website

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In an effort to accomplish his goal of having 'kicking a ball' become an Olympic sport, Coach Zauner, who is considered one of the nation's top kicking coaches, has launched "Kicking For The Gold', a website dedicated to pursuing this effort.

NFL Great Gary Anderson

I may just have to come out of retirement because I'd like to try and win a gold medal!

Coach Zauner, one of the nation's top football kicking coaches, has launched 'Kicking For The Gold' in an effort to make 'kicking a ball' an Olympic sport.

Zauner says this idea was inspired by the 2008 Olympic games.

"While watching Michael Phelps win his eight gold medals for swimming during the 2008 Olympics, I again started wondering who was the greatest kicker in the world', says Zauner, "or to be more specific, who would be the best in the world at 'kicking a ball' for distance and accuracy."

Zauner says 'kicking a ball' is perhaps the most wide-spread sports activity in the world and he is surprised it has not become an Olympic event.

Zauner, a former 13 year NFL Special Teams Coordinator who coached special teams for the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals and is presently joining the newly formed United Football League (UFL) as a special teams coordinator for the California Redwoods, is considered by many to be one of the best kicking coaches in the country. The list of NFL specialists he has worked with is unprecedented and includes having coached or worked with 19 Pro Bowlers.

Zauner says he has an idea who some of the best kickers are in American football, but wonders what would happen when you throw into the mix soccer, rugby and Australian rules football players.

"Wouldn't it be fascinating to find out who, out of all these individuals, would kick a ball the highest, the furthest and with the greatest accuracy," asks Zauner. Adding, "and what better way to find out then by making it an Olympic event,"

Immediately after the 2008 Olympics, Zauner wrote the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and requested they consider this idea. Zauner says he is still waiting for a response.

Click here for Coach Zauner's letter to the IOC.

While waiting for an IOC response, Zauner says he has discussed this concept with many kickers from around the world, including football, soccer, rugby, and Australian rules football players. He says they have all supported the idea.

One player who enthusiastically supports the idea of kicking for a gold medal is former NFL football great Gary Anderson. Anderson who is originally from South Africa recently left the NFL as its leading scorer. He is one of the many kickers Zauner has interviewed for the 'Kicking For The Gold' website. Anderson says he might even consider coming out of retirement to 'Kick For The Gold."

"I was recently introduced to this idea of kicking for an Olympic gold medal," says Anderson, "and all I can say is I wish someone had thought about this a little bit sooner because I think it is a fascinating idea."

Anderson says when you consider some of the other activities which have become Olympic sports -activities which have far less global participation then kicking a ball- it only makes sense for the IOC to pursue this idea, saying "I may just have to come out of retirement because I'd like to try and win a gold medal!"

Anderson adds, "I would whole-heartedly suggest to the Olympic committee to give this idea some very sincere and deep thought on how to actually evolve it into an Olympic event," he says. Adding that even though he may be a bit 'beyond' kicking for a gold medal, he would love to see his son -who is following his father's steps as a kicker- compete for gold in the Olympics.

Click here for Gary Anderson video interview.

Another kicking specialist Zauner has interviewed is Mitch Berger. Berger, who was the punter for the 2009 Super Bowl World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers and is also a two-time Pro Bowler, says he has won many accolades over his career, but the one thing he doesn't have is an Olympic Gold medal.

"I've had a 15 year career in the NFL, made two Pro Bowls, played on a Super Bowl championship team and have basically been kicking a ball since I was six years old," says Berger. "But the one thing I don't have is an Olympic gold medal."

Berger says being able to 'kick a ball' for an Olympic gold medal is a very interesting idea, saying that he has always had the dream of being able to compete for a medal in the Olympics. He says he realizes there is little chance that American football will become an Olympic sport, therefore 'kicking a ball' for a gold medal would keep his childhood dream alive.

"The finest kickers in the NFL are from all around the world," says Berger. "Wouldn't it be great to bring them together with the best soccer, rugby and Australian rules football players to see just who is the best at 'kicking a ball."

Click here for Mitch Berger video interview.

Although Zauner is working with and getting opinions about this idea from some of the top kicking specialists in the world, he says he would like to have input from every kicking specialist or anyone who is a fan of kicking.

So, to ensure everyone can voice their thoughts on the idea (and to voice their opinion to the IOC), he is asking kickers -or kicking enthusiasts- to create a video and post it to YouTube with the tag: 'Kicking For The Gold'.

Zauner says these videos should include a persons thoughts on how 'kicking' as an Olympic sport might be implemented. Should it be an individual or team sport? What kind of ball might be used? Or should a new universal ball be created specifically for the event? And perhaps most importantly, who do they think would be the best 'kicker' in the world? Would that be a football, soccer, rugby, or Australian rules football player. Or would it be someone who has never played the game?

Zauner says he will then select some of these videos and post them to the 'Kicking For The Gold' website and blog.

Click here for sample YouTube video from former University of Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit.

"I have no idea who would be the 'best' kicker in the world," says Zauner. "But by creating 'kicking a ball' as an Olympic event we would certainly be able to find out. And wouldn't that be cool."


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