RECAP: 2016 AAU Junior Olympic Games
The 2016 AAU Junior Olympic Games, the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the United States, officially opened with the Celebration of Athletes on Sunday, July 31, 2016. Olympic track and field legend and AAU alum Carl Lewis performed lighting the torch duties and also shared some inspirational words for this year's participants. Hosted at the M.O. Campbell Center, the event included the traditional parade of athletes, guest speakers, music, a magic show, videos and more.
However, competition began on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016. The games involved more than 15,000 athletes and 30,000 spectators, which and brought a significant economic impact to the greater Houston area. The 12-day event featured 17 national sports competitions, including the AAU’s marquee track and field event at Humble High School from July 30-August 6.
“This is a special year for the AAU Junior Olympic Games,” said Paul Campbell, who has served as Chairman for the annual event for the last 24 years. “This event has been the crown jewel of the AAU for a long time because of its prominence and popularity, but also because of the first-class cities that have hosted the AAU Junior Olympic Games over the last 50 years.”
Celebrating its 50th annual event this year, the AAU Junior Olympic Games began on Aug. 21, 1967 when Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey proclaimed the start at the Departmental Auditorium on Constitutional Ave. in Washington D.C. The inaugural event drew 523 youth athletes who competed for national championships in swimming and track and field, establishing 18 AAU records during the event.
Since then, the AAU Junior Olympic Games have been conducted in 19 states and 30 cities across the United States. As one of the premier events in the nation, youth athletes have used the event as the starting point to an ultra-successful professional career. Notable AAU Junior Olympic Games alumni include: Jackie Joyner Kersee (track and field), Carl Lewis (track and field), Greg Louganis (diving), Kathy McMillan (track and field), Charles Foster (track and field), Robert Griffin III (track and field), Jordy Nelson (track and field) and Ezekiel Elliott (track and field).
Results from the games can be found here.