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AAU Junior Olympics - "Sports for All, Forever"

The 38th Annual Junior Olympic Games were held in Des Moines, Iowa July 27, 2004 thru August 8, 2004. The preliminarily competition for the baton twirling portion of the Junior Olympics began on August 3rd. Baton twirling was added to the Junior Olympic game six years ago.

Nancy Eisenhauer, National Chair for Baton Twirling in the Junior Olympics, and other executive board members were in charge of the twirling contest but had some help from the city of Des Monies and Jan Stivers from Iowa to collect registrations and make local arrangements.

A little over one hundred twirlers participated in this year’s Junior Olympic Games. Attendance was down resulting in the twirling games ending earlier than scheduled. In past years, attendance has been around 300 to 400 participants. Eisenhauer projects participation decrease was due to location and the expense traveling into Des Moines from distance states.

Twirlers competed in preliminary competition in solo one-baton, two-baton, three-baton and solo freestyle. Place points were awarded and carried on into finals so it was important that twirlers perform well in both preliminaries and finals. Every athlete from novice to the advanced divisions was part of the award ceremony and winners stood on podiums similar to the Olympics. Duet, trio and dance twirl teams were also offered.

Each year, the Joel Ferrell award is given to a twirler with remarkable athletic ability and sportsmanship. Several twirlers were up for this award nominated by coaches and other members of the twirling community. Diana Reed from Iowa was awarded the 2004 Joel Ferrell Outstanding Performance award for the sport of Baton Twirling.

Washington, DC was the home of the first Junior Olympics in 1967. Since its beginning, the Junior Olympic Games have been conducted in 15 states and 24 cities across the United States with the theme of "Sports for All, Forever".

Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) membership is required to participate in the Junior Olympic sanctioned events. The Amateur Athletic Union is a non-profit, volunteer, multi-sports organization founded in 1888. The AAU is dedicated to promoting amateur sports while establishing standards and uniformity. The AAU has worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic Games.

The 2005 Junior Olympics are scheduled to be held July 26 thru August 6 in New Orleans. For more information on AAU please visit www.aausports.org or the Junior Olympics, please visit www.aaujrogames.org.



Author: Michelle Weiss
Editors: Kristy Anderson
Photos provided by: Patti Mickey & Jenny Seffron

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