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Southern Junior to Compete in National Rapid Rally Competition

August 9, 2006 10:54 AM

The United States Olympic Committee announced the finalists in the 2006 U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Competition Presented by Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. There will be 72 youth, ages 8-13, competing in the National Final event which will take place Aug. 10-13, 2006, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Each contestant will receive round trip airfare and accommodations to take part in the three-day contest. Zachary Linder of Alpharetta, GA will compete in the National Rapid Rally Competition in the 8-9 Year-Old Division.

The U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Competition is a free, grass-roots, Olympic sports program which teaches youth, ages 8-13, about the advantages of living a healthy lifestyle by promoting fitness, physical activity and sports participation. The program is also a foundation for building youth interest and participation in Olympic sports.

In its first year of implementation, more than 1.5 million participants, representing all 50 states competed in the program. Children from across the nation competed in more than 5,700 local qualifying events and 150 regional competitions which tested their skills in four Olympic sports: basketball, soccer, track & field and tennis. The top three scorers from each age group and sport were selected as finalists and will compete for the title of U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Champion in his/her age group and sport. Finalists represent 32 states.

"Every Olympic athlete started his or her career through programs and activities similar to those offered by the U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Competition," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr . "We partnered with Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and its Earn Your Stripes program to teach kids about the importance of setting goals and working hard to do their best, and to encourage them to strive for the same commitment to excellence that our Olympic and Paralympic athletes demonstrate. The individuals that will join us in Colorado Springs next week are not only a talented group of young athletes, but they represent the future of the Olympic Movement and Olympic sport in America."

The finalists will travel with a guardian to the United States Olympic Committee national headquarters, where America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes, live, train and prepare to compete in the world's biggest sporting events - the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Competition - National Finals Event
In addition to participating in the competition, finalists will partake in three days of activities which include interacting with U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes including: former U.S. National Soccer Team member and three-time U.S. World Cup member, Marcelo Balboa (Cerritos, Calif.); U.S. world champion, Olympic silver medalist and professional cyclist Mari Holden (Colorado Springs, Colo.); Hunter Kemper (Longwood, Fla.), the No. 1 ranked triathlete in the world; and five-time Paralympic medalist and the world's fastest amputee, Marlon Shirley (Chula Vista, Calif.). Other resident athletes such as members of the National Gymnastics and Triathlon Teams will be on hand to cheer for youth as they compete in their given sports.

The National Finals event will replicate the festivities of the Olympic and Olympic Winter Games. Finalists will participate in an official Opening Ceremony, complete with a lighting of the cauldron at the Olympic Training Center, a Parade of National Finalists which will occur along the Olympic Path, and a special Awards and Medals Ceremony on the final day. Additionally, finalists and their guests will receive special tours of the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and they will visit some of the historic and scenic surroundings of Colorado Springs. This includes a trip to the top of Pikes Peak via the highest cog railway in the world. Pikes Peak is a 14,000 foot mountain which inspired the song "America The Beautiful."

With the generosity of title sponsor, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and supporting sponsors Tyson Foods, Band-Aid® and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Competition has brought free, grass-roots, Olympic sports programming to youth nationwide.

About the U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Competition
In the National Finals of the U.S. Junior Olympic Skills Competition, participants are tested in a variety of events through a timed competition. The top scorers per age and gender will be named national champions in their respective sports. Events include:
-Basketball: score as many points as possible by making baskets from designated shooting areas
-Soccer: dribble and shoot accurately in the fastest time possible
-Tennis: serve a low-compression tennis ball and continue to hit the ball against a wall and above the net as many times as possible in a 30-second time period
-Track & Field: perform three fundamental events, the sprint (50-meter in the fastest time possible), a standing long jump and the ultimate shot put (using a softball and proper shot put technique)




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