-- The 2016 Summer Olympics kick off tonight in Rio de Janeiro but a 1-year-old in Utah has already staged his own Olympics, thanks to help from his parents and five siblings.
Rockwell Lawrence, of Paradise, Utah, is the star of a series of photos that show him dressed in red, white and blue and competing in Olympic sports ranging from weightlifting to gymnastics to beach volleyball.
The photo series is the brainchild of Rockwell’s father, Alan Lawrence, who wanted his six kids to fully experience the 2016 Olympics.
“I never really got into the Olympics as a kid and I kind of regret not having that opportunity,” said Lawrence, whose kids range in age from 14 to 1. “I wanted to do something for our kids.”
Lawrence, an art director for a running shoe company, is a hobby photographer whose blog, hat Dad Blog, has previously featured Rockwell as a leprechaun, for St. Patrick’s Day, and as Elf on the Shelf, for Christmas.
For the Olympic photo shoot, Lawrence and his wife, Nikki, recruited their kids to help pick the sports and set up the photo shoots.
“My kids are excited and more aware of it and the events that are involved as we talk about the things Rockwell is doing,” Lawrence said. “My one son said, ‘I didn’t even know boxing was in the Olympics.’”
One of the photos features Rockwell’s older brother, Will, who was born with Down Syndrome and is the reason Lawrence started his blog. The family plans to continue posting more photos over the course of the Summer Games.
The Lawrence family plans to gather together at home tonight to watch the games' Opening Ceremony. Lawrence said he has purposely not told his kids too much about this year's major Olympic stars and storylines so they can experience it all themselves.
“I just kind of want them to watch it and pick their hero,” he said.