Patti Wenzel

Let the youth games begin

By - Jul 15th, 2010 04:00 am
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Athletes from the Milwaukee delegation enter the 2010 U.S. Youth Games

Milwaukee has laid out the welcome mat this weekend for over 400 students participating in the 2010 U.S. Youth Games.

The games, hosted by the Milwaukee Public Schools Recreation Department, provide an outlet for children 15 and younger to play and compete in a controlled and safe environment.

Based at the Tommy G. Thompson Center at State Fair Park, competitors will travel throughout the city to compete in volleyball, boys and girls basketball, flag football, golf, bowling, swimming, track and field, tennis, double-dutch and an academic bowl. The games begin today and run through Saturday, with competitions being held between various MPS schools and Wick Field.

Opening ceremonies were held Wednesday evening at the fair park coliseum. Representatives from the 5 communities entered the venue Olympic style – in a parade of athletes. More cities were scheduled to attend, but due to budget cuts by cities and school districts, the athletes were unable to attend. But the students from Milwaukee, Birmingham, AL; Columbia, NC; Patterson, NJ; and Joliet, IL were pumped up and ready to play.

Milwaukee athlete Tayaa Williams had the honor of lighting the torch, signaling the beginning of the games.

The U.S. Youth Games began in 1967 New York City. Started by then-Mayor John Lindsay, the games were designed to be a showcase for inner-city youth’s skills and also to serve as an opportunity for children to test their skills against their peers. The first games included athletes from New York, Washington D.C., Boston and Newark. Since then the games have expanded to include students from every state in the union.

Alumni of the games include many famous athletes including pro-basketball players Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley, tennis player Pam Schrieber and Olympic gold-medal bobsledder Vonetta Flowers.

In addition to athletic competition, the U.S. Youth Games feature an academic bowl, based on the old “College Bowl” television program.

After the Thursday’s competition, the athletes will visit Discovery World on Thursday evening and on Friday they will enjoy a dance hosted by local DJ “Mike the Party Killa.”

For a complete listing of events and locations, click here. Check out a few photos from the opening ceremony:

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