By Eve Meinhardt, ParaglideAugust 24, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Children from across Fort Bragg swarmed the Main Post Polo Field Saturday to participate in the 12th Annual Armed Services YMCA Kids' Olympics. The 78 children competed for medals in 10 events based on their age group and gender.
Lynne Grates, director, Fort Bragg ASYMCA, encouraged the children to do their best, but to remember that having fun was the most important thing.
"Just have fun. You're not competing against each other, just yourselves," said rates. "Remember to encourage your fellow athletes and cheer for everyone today. Everyone is a winner."
Eliana Battle, 7, was one of the many children who had participated in previous years and wanted to be a part of the Kids' Olympics again. She was a little shy when it came to talking, but all business as she concentrated on throwing a ball as far as she could during the softball throw event.
"Eliana likes to get outside and do things," said her dad, Staff Sgt. Jose Battle, Company B, XVIII Airborne Corps Special Troops Battalion. "She did it last year and was really excited about coming again this year."
Joshua Jerome, 8, was competing for the third time.
"I just like coming out and having fun," said Jerome. "It's about pushing myself to the limit and having a good time."
His mom, Trina, and his grandparents, visiting from Las Vegas, were on the sidelines cheering him on.
Deborah Hall, program director, ASYMCA, has been planning this year's event since the end of April.
"I just love doing this. It brings kids together and makes them realize they don't have to worry about what the other child is doing - they just need to push themselves and have fun," said Hall. "It's great. Parents and kids get to come out, spend time together and just enjoy it."
Children ages 5 to 12 were divided into four age categories by gender to determine who qualified for a medal in each event. The events included sit-ups, push-ups, softball throw, 25-yard dash, 50-yard dash, 100-yard dash, obstacle course, crabwalk and shuttle run.
The ASYMCA awarded 280 gold, silver and bronze medals to the top finishers.
Everyone left with a medal around their neck with each child receiving a large medal for being a part of the Kids' Olympics and a T-shirt with the ASYMCA logo.
Grates encouraged the participants to keep their individual scorecards so they could measure their progress when they return next year.