(Hampton Roads, VA) – Magic Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Kerri Strugg --all are world-class athletes who also made their mark as young champions in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games. The Games return to Hampton Roads this summer from July 29 to August 7, 2010 with a new crop of outstanding amateur athletes vying for the coveted top honors.
In partnership with the Hampton Roads Sports Commission, an affiliate of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, five regional cities combine efforts to host the AAU Junior Olympic Games and its more than 45,000 participants, including 15,000 athletes and their families and coaches, venturing here from all across the United States. Billed as one of the largest amateur multi-sport youth events in the country, it's also expected to deliver an economic impact of almost $50 million to the region. Held annually throughout the Unites States, Hampton Roads last hosted the games in 2006 and is one of five cities in a rotation to host the games through 2016. Other sites include Des Moines, IA; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; and New Orleans, LA.
The AAU Junior Olympic Games are slated for venues in Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. The events, 18 in all, range from team sports including beach tennis, jump rope, beach volleyball, wrestling and field hockey to individual competitions such as gymnastics, weightlifting, swimming, table tennis and track and field events. A complete schedule of events is available online at www.aaujrogames.org or at www.hamptonroadssport.org
Utilizing some of the area's existing athletic facilities, competitors face-off in premier environments with room for plenty of spectators that also showcase the region's sports amenities. From the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton and Norfolk State University's Dick Price Stadium to the Virginia Beach Convention Center and Chesapeake Conference Center to Midtown Community Center in Newport News and a host of high schools in between, the region is well-represented by its quality athletic venues.
The Commonwealth is expected to be well represented by over 2,300 top athletes in this year's AAU Junior Olympic Games.
Originally begun in 1967 with just 523 athletes and coaches, the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games have blossomed to support nearly 15,000 athletes who compete regularly around the country and have representatives from all 50 states in the union. Under the direction of the Hampton Roads Sports Commission, the region first hosted the AAU Junior Olympic Games in 1998 and steps into the national spotlight for the fourth time in 2010 following 2001 and 2006 hosting duties. The AAU Junior Olympic Games are just one component of the Amateur Athletic Union, which collectively boasts more than a half million participants, 50,000 volunteers and 30,000 events per year.
Perhaps more importantly, in addition to fostering healthy competition and building athletic ability, the Amateur Athletic Union has established a platform for the advancement of top-notch characteristics among its members. The AAU promotes a commitment to excellence, sportsmanship and discipline, each trait equally vital to the growth and development of our young Americans today.
Tickets for spectator viewing of all AAU Junior Olympic Games events are available at each competition site and registration areas so don't miss this summer's premier youth athletic showcase at venues across the region. Individual day tickets are offered for $12 per day and include admission to all events scheduled on the designated day of purchase. A 10-day wristband/passport will be offered for $40 and includes admissions to all events through the games. Children ages 6 and younger are admitted for free to all events. Tickets and wristband/passports may be purchased at the registration centers or any competition venue.
About the Hampton Roads Sports Commission
In February of 1999, the Hampton Roads Sports Commission was formed as a public/private partnership among the seven cities of the Hampton Roads Region: Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton and Newport News, and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. The Commission’s primary function is to attract major amateur athletic events to the area and to emphasize regional collaboration. The Hampton Roads Sports Commission is an affiliate of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.hamptonroadssports.org.