Celebration of Athletes

Celebration of Athletes
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games Celebration of Athletes held on August 3rd

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games are being held from July 29 to August 8, 2015 in Hampton Roads, consisting of 15,000 athlete’s ages 7 to 17. These competitors share the vision of the AAU organization, “Sports for All, Forever,” and spread this philosophy throughout Hampton Roads.

The Hampton Roads Sports Commission (HRSC), an affiliate of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, is host to the AAU Junior Olympic Games and put on a “Celebration of Athletes” event on August 3, the halfway point of the weeklong competition. This event served to welcome and recognize these talented children and young adults as well as their families and friends.

The evening, full of sports demonstrations, “Jack Ankerson You Can Do It Awards” and the lighting of the torch (when former Olympians ran the track) was enough to bring more than 1,000 athletes and spectators to Norfolk State University’s Dick Price Stadium!


"We are proud to showcase a variety of sports at the Celebration of Athletes,” said Lauren Bland, Executive Director of the HRSC. “It paints a beautiful picture of how all 15,000 athletes are part of one huge event. It's fun for the athletes and spectators to see and experience an event that they may not have normally seem.”Bryan K. Stephens and Lauren Bland

The HRSC was honored to have Jack Ankerson emcee the event. Mayor George Wallace of Hampton, Vice Mayor Angelia Williams Graves of Norfolk, Virginia Beach City Council member Bob Dyer, Chesapeake City Council member Ella Ward, and Newport News LOC/City Representative Jeff Sykes all came out to show the support of their participating cities and were honored with an AAU gold medal.

The “Jack Ankerson You Can Do It Awards” were given to four local AAU Junior Olympic athletes in honor of Mr. Ankerson, the first Hampton Roads Sports Commission Executive Director.  Preston Coulter of Virginia Beach, Isaiah Davis of Newport News, Matthew Hill of Virginia Beach and Betsy Pollard of Suffolk were the four local recipients recognized and awarded with $500 scholarships.

This was the first year the HRSC awarded these scholarships thanks to the planning efforts of Bland. Mr. Ankerson's longtime involvement in sports and in the Hampton Roads along with his charisma, hard 

HRSC has hosted the AAU Junior Olympic Games four times with 2015 marking its fifth opportunity to welcome this national event. The AAU Games have a long history of spurring healthy athletic competition that began in 1967. Since then, the Games have grown to become the principal multi-sporting event for children and young adults in the United States. Over 15,000 representatives from all 50 states and many U.S. territories attend the Games to participate in 20 sports.work and dedication, is nothing short of amazing!

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Check out the results of the games here
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