The AAU Junior Olympic Games are just around the corner in Des Moines starting July 22-August 2.  Whether you live in Greater Des Moines Area, or visiting for the Games, this is a great opportunity to get involved in the community! Here are some things you may not have known about the AAU Junior Olympics!

10 Fun Facts about the AAU Junior Olympic Games:


1. The Amateur Athletic Union, AAU, is the largest non-profit multi-sport organization in the United States.

2. The AAU Junior Olympic Games will bring an estimated $47 million in economic impact to Greater Des Moines. There will be roughly 40,000 visitors and 14,000 athletes in Des Moines starting July 22.

3. This event doesn’t happen without VOLUNTEERS! It takes 2,600 volunteers to help make 12 days of Junior Olympics happen! Not too late to sign up and volunteer!

4. This isn’t the first time the AAU Junior Olympic Games have been in Des Moines! The first time they appeared here was in 1995 with 8,735 athletes participating. We’re happy to share that the AAU Junior Olympic Games will be back in Des Moines in 2018 and 2023!

5. The AAU Junior Olympic Games is the leading multi-sport event for youth in the United States. The first city to host the Junior Olympics was Washington D.C. in 1967.

6. When the event began in 1967, it only consisted of two sports, track and field and swimming.

7. In Des Moines this year, we will host 20 different sports, ranging from wrestling and gymnastics to sports stacking and kung fu.

8. Many of the jump rope performers during the 2013 Macy’s Day Parade also participate in the Junior Olympics!

9. Track and Field participants will get to compete in one of the most notorious stadiums in the country: the Blue Oval at Drake Stadium.

10. Pro-athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Alan Iverson and Carl Lewis are all AAU alumni. Along with local celebrities such as Shawn Johnson, Gabby Douglas and Dan Gable.


Who would want to miss this event?! Come check out the Iowa Events Center and Drake Stadium to watch some of the unique sporting events that will be happening during this time! Or, even better, sign up to volunteer at one of the sporting events! If you are interested go to and click on the tab that says “volunteer with us!”


-- KF