by Pamela Young, Published July 24, 2013
YPSILANTI - Some of the nation's best young track & field athletes will compete in the 2013 AAU National Junior Olympic Games at Eastern Michigan University July 27 - Aug. 3. The competition has been called the world's largest youth track & field event of its kind.
Field events start Saturday, July 27 at 8 a.m., at EMU's Rynearson Stadium, 799 N. Hewitt in Ypsilanti. The majority of the running preliminaries begin Monday, July 29 at Rynearson.
"The Junior Olympic track championships are a wonderful opportunity for not only Eastern Michigan University, but the entire Ypsilanti community, to showcase our facilities and hospitality," said Michael Malach, associate athletic director - administration at Eastern. "We look forward to hosting 12,000 track & field athletes and their families at Eastern Michigan next week."
Junior Olympians will be competing in 17 different sports ranging from bowling and swimming to weightlifting and table tennis, with the majority of events taking place at Eastern Michigan University and Cobo Hall in Detroit. The University of Michigan will host swimming and field hockey.
More than 18,000 athletes, ages 6 to 18, and coaches from 50 states will participate, including 1,000 from Michigan. Organizers estimate there will be more than 30,000 spectators.
"We want to thank the Detroit Sports Commission for involving Eastern Michigan in such a wonderful opportunity," Malach said.
All-event passes cost $40. Daily passes cost $12. Tickets are available at each venue. New this year is an app that informs competitors, parents and coaches on results and provides directions from place to place.
The host site rotates on a five-year basis between Detroit; Des Moines, Iowa; New Orleans, and Hampton Roads, Va. The games were last held in Detroit and Ypsilanti in 2008.