DES MOINES, Iowa (July 24, 2023) – More than 14,000 athletes and coaches will be in Greater Des Moines this week for the 57th AAU Junior Olympic Games, the largest multi-sport event for youth in the U.S. Around 700 of those participants are from Iowa. The 11-day event, July 26 – August 5, is expected to bring an estimated economic impact of $44 million to the region. Multiple locations around the area will be utilized, including the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex, Drake Stadium at Drake University, the Wellmark YMCA Downtown Des Moines, and Grant Field at the University of Iowa. This year’s AAU Junior Olympic Games will feature 11 different sports competitions, including AAU’s marquee track and field event at Drake Stadium, which takes place July 29 – August 5. Track and Field, the largest sport at the Games, boasts approximately 11,000 participants. “We’re very excited to bring the AAU Junior Olympic Games back to Des Moines,” said AAU President Jo Mirza. “This event is the pinnacle of the AAU season and Catch Des Moines is perfectly positioned to help us host a successful event and provide a memorable experience for our athletes.” Since its beginning in 1967 in Washington, D.C., the AAU Junior Olympic Games have been conducted in 19 states and 31 cities across the United States. This is the seventh time Iowa has hosted the event, more than any other location. Des Moines has also already been tabbed to host the event in 2026 and 2030.  “Hosting the AAU Junior Olympic Games for the seventh time is an honor,” said Catch Des Moines President and CEO Greg Edwards. “We are looking forward to welcoming the thousands of athletes and their families to Greater Des Moines. This is an event that we value and has a huge impact on our community.”  Notable AAU Junior Olympic Games alumni include track and field stars Sydney McLaughlin, Carl Lewis, Athing Mu, and Erriyon Knighton, Olympic diver Hailey Hernandez, and basketball greats Kevin Durant, A’ja Wilson, and Shaquille O’Neal. Event Schedule: (All events at MidAmerican Energy Complex RecPlex unless otherwise noted.) Trampoline and Tumbling – July 26 – 29 Swimming, Wellmark YMCA – July 27 – 30 Karate – July 27 – 28 Baton Twirling – July 28 – 29 Sport Stacking – July 28 – 30 Wrestling – July 29 – 30 Taekwondo – July 29 – 30 Track & Field, Drake Stadium – July 29 – August 5 Jump Rope – July 31 – August 2 Fencing – July 31 – August 2 Field Hockey, Grant Field, University of Iowa – August 3 – 5 Visit for more information about the AAU Junior Olympic Games.


About Catch Des Moines

The Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Des Moines Area Sports Commission, collectively known as Catch Des Moines, is the official destination marketing organization promoting and representing Greater Des Moines to leisure travelers and meeting/sports planners. Our focus is to increase visitors to the metro and elevate the visitor experience to drive economic success and enhance the quality of life in the 14 local Greater Des Moines communities we represent. For more information, visit About the AAU The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer sports event organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by more than 720,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 45 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts. For more information, visit