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12 Jul 2016

More Than 15,000 Athletes Head to Houston for 50th Celebration of the AAU Junior Olympic Games This Month

More Than 15,000 Athletes Head to Houston for 50th Celebration of the AAU Junior Olympic Games This Month

HOUSTON, Texas (July 13, 2016) – More than 15,000 athletes and 30,000 spectators will travel to Houston later this month for the AAU Junior Olympic Games, the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the United States, and bring with them a significant economic impact to the greater Houston area.

The 12-day event, beginning July 27, will feature 19 national sports competitions, including the AAU’s marquee track and field event at Humble High School on July 30-August 6. Nearly 200 AAU national records have been set and reset at the Games since 2011 with 33 records established during the 2015 Games alone.

“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).

The economic impact to the Houston area is expected to be more than $52 million with participants and their families visiting local hotels, shops, restaurants and other Houston-area businesses.

“We couldn't be more excited to once again be hosting the AAU Junior Olympic Games; the fact that this year's event is the 50th anniversary is only icing on the cake,” said Chris Massey, Director of Events for the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. “Not only does the area get to share our great facilities and southern hospitality with athletes and spectators from around the country, but the event also creates substantial economic impact right here in our backyard.”

The AAU Junior Olympic Games are widely recognized as one of the leading youth events in the country, with the 2014 games most recently being named a finalist as SportsTravel’s Best Amateur Multi-Sports Event of the Year.

Visit for more information about the AAU Junior Olympic Games.

Media interested in covering this event should contact Cody Norman, AAU Public Relations Manager at



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