FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Young athletes ranging in age from 5 to 12 met at the Main Post Polo Field on a hot and steamy Saturday morning to show off their fitness skills at the 11th Annual Armed Services YMCA Kids' Olympics.

Before the competition, the children recited the Pledge of Allegiance and warmed up with stretches.

Family members cheered their favorite competitors on during events such as the obstacle course, crabwalk, softball throw, jump-rope, sit-ups, pushups, shuttle run and a 25-50-100 meter combined dash.

"(This event) is all about sportsmanship, health and fitness," said Lynne Grates, ASYMCA executive director. Todd and Angie Mansfield, volunteers and ASYMCA board members, agree. "This gives the kids a good time and a workout," said Todd.

Every child receives a T-shirt and participation medal, along with other medals they may win in each of the events.

Local businesses like Pizza Hut, Picerne Military Housing and Sandhills Pediatric and Family Dentistry also came out to volunteer and help with the program.

"We like to help out with the community," said Yuasmine Diaz, Sandhills Pediatric and Family Dentistry. The business brought T-shirts and Sandy the Tooth to the event.

At the push-up station, Dara Alligood, 12, and Madison Bayne, 10, enjoyed a friendly competition to see who could do the most push-ups in a minute. Alligood completed 56 airborne pushups, said her father, Sgt. 1st Class Jesse English, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

"(Dara) is in such good shape, she can beat me on pull-ups," he said. English and his wife, Amy, encourage Dara in everything she does, including gymnastics where she is a platinum gymnast at Omega School of Gymnastics in Fayetteville.

Madison, also a gymnast, has a competition with her coach in school, said Sgt. 1st Class Joe Bayne, with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Military Police Brigade. "She's done 149 push-ups but not timed," said Bayne.

The two gymnasts are friends and frequently push each other to succeed, said English.
Staff Sgt. John Sidbury from Company E., 230th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Kinston, N.C., brought his son, Mysaun Vaughn, 10, to participate in the Kids' Olympics. Sidbury plans to eventually move to Fayetteville and wanted his son to get acclimatized to the area.

"It's all about getting out with the other kids and having fun. That's the main thing," Sidbury said.