City of Springfield, Springfield College
May 23, 2007
to Host 1st Annual Springfield Youth Olympics
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 23, 2007 – Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan and Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn will be honorary co-chairmen of the 1st Annual 2007 Springfield Youth Olympics, at Springfield College, July 27 and July 28.
The event will be the first of its kind for the city’s youth, and will include opening and closing ceremonies surrounding track and field competition. Hundreds of participants will receive medals at the event, which is designed to stimulate health and wellness and foster a sense of community. Dennis Brown, president of the Springfield Carnival Association, conceived the event and will be its coordinator.
Students aged 10 to 20 who reside in Springfield will be eligible to compete. There also will be a selection of events for Springfield residents aged 20 and 60.
According to Flynn, “It is especially fitting that this initiative in youth health and fitness be held on our campus. Springfield College has been world renowned as a leader in the field of physical education for more than a century.
“Sharing our track facility for an event such as this is one of the ways in which we are uniquely able to help improve the quality of life in our city. We are happy to add this event to our many year-round community service programs.”
The event is a local initiative to help combat obesity, which has become a national epidemic. In Western Massachusetts, 15 percent of children aged 11 to 14 are overweight, and as many as 40 percent are at risk of becoming overweight, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. More than 55 percent of Massachusetts adults are overweight.
Flynn added, “These two days of exciting track and field events will offer area youth incentives to prepare physically and mentally throughout June and July. It will provide a taste of the good feeling of the active life which, we hope, will fuel a positive addiction to sports and physical fitness as integral parts of healthy, happy living.”
The Springfield Youth Olympics comes in the wake of alarming reports that the nation’s youth have become too dependent on television, computers, and fast food. They are likely to become overweight adults with the attending health risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, breathing problems, arthritis, depression and premature death.
Local health agencies and health care officials will provide educational materials and services throughout the Springfield Youth Olympics.