First, we give them the opportunity to compete at a young age.
Second, we recognize and identify ability at a young age.
Third, we celebrate athletes' success constantly. We show up at their games and cheer. We give them trophies. When they get to be teenagers, if they're still good, we put their names in the newspaper once in a while.
Fourth, we pay them for potential, rather than simply paying them once they get to be among the best in the world.