The Junior Olympics is an annual event held by the United States Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) for US competitors in various sports. It was first held in 1967 and has since expanded to include 24 different sports. The competition is split by age group and aims to promote fitness and good sportsmanship among youth. The AAU website provides information on guidelines and prerequisites for participation.
The Junior Olympics are an annual event held by the United States Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Unlike the Olympics, the junior version is open only to US competitors and is held in American cities. Since 1967, the competition has offered young athletes the chance to perform on a national stage, against the best competitors in the country.
The first Junior Olympics were held in 1967 in Washington, DC. Created nearly two decades earlier, the AAU had initially worked to create national head-to-head matches for track and field athletes. With the help of corporate sponsorship, the national competition quickly expanded to include sports outside the discipline of track and field, including swimming, gymnastics, and other major sporting events. By 2011, the competition will boast tournaments in 24 different sports and has increased attendance from 523 athletes in 1967 to 13,167 competitors in 2007.
The Junior Olympics encompasses major and popular sports among youth, including several dance divisions such as cheerleading, clog, and drill. In addition to standard youth sports such as swimming, beach volleyball and martial arts, the competition also includes unusual categories such as rope jumping and stick twirling. Designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of youngsters, the Junior Olympics split many competitions by age group, with some competitors as young as 5 or 22 being admitted in certain disciplines.
The competition has been held in more than 20 American cities since its inception, returning most frequently to Tennessee, which has hosted 6 games. Strong support from five cities has resulted in a rolling location program since 2001 that is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Knoxville, Detroit, Des Moines, New Orleans and Hampton Roads will rotate with each other, at least through 2011.
Each discipline has specific entry requirements, but many require participation in AAU-approved preliminary events. Some lower age divisions only require the athlete to be in good standing with the AAU, while others will only accept the best qualified in any field. The AAU website, www.aaujrogames.org, is an excellent source of information on guidelines and prerequisites for participation.
At a time when obesity and diabetes rates are skyrocketing in the United States, there’s no overestimating the love of physical activity in children. The AAU uses the Junior Olympics as a means to promote fitness among youth and teach the principles of good sportsmanship. This worthy program can be the start of an athletic career for any young, growing athlete and deserves thanks for its work in promoting healthy exercise, friendly competition, and welcoming athletes from a wide variety of backgrounds. sports and backgrounds.