DES MOINES, Iowa – 14,000 athletes from all over the world are competing in 20 different events for the AAU Junior Olympics this week. It’s the fourth time Des Moines has hosted the tournament, and it’s scheduled to host it again in 2018 and 2023.
That’s a good thing for the Greater Des Moines area, since this year’s tournament is expected to generate a $47 million economic impact for its economy.
Today at the Iowa Events Center, jump rope teams from all over were preparing for the games. Two teams practicing today represented Louisville, KY and Australia – a testament to the diversity the AAU Junior Olympics bring in.
“It’s not just a sissy sport, it takes a lot of work,” said Murray Huber, a 17-year-old jump roper from Louisville. “And when we show people who have never seen it, they’re always really surprised. They’re like, ‘Oh, wow! I didn’t know you could do that with a rope.’ So just realize it’s not as easy as it seems.”
Many athletes at this tournament are hoping to qualify next year for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.