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Posted: July 22, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: Chicago Wards Face Off in Youth Track and Field Program

City-wide track program for kids ages 14 and younger underway

CHICAGO -- July 22, 2009 -- This summer, Chicago kids have the chance to follow their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

More than 300 children (ages 14 and younger) from more than 25 aldermanic wards have enrolled in Mayor Daley's Summer Track Program, which began July 11 with a meet at Eckersall Stadium. Additional meets will take place on July 25 and August 1, and a championship meet will be held on August 16.

Participants compete in events such as the long jump, softball throw, 100-, 200-, 400-meter dashes, 800- and 1600-meter runs and the 4x100 relay. They also have the chance to interact with and learn from Olympians. Bob Beamon, 1968 gold medalist who held the world record in the long jump for 23 years, Gail Devers, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and others will attend the meets.

The program was created by World Sport Chicago, the "living legacy" organization of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid, and Friends of Track and Field as part of an ongoing effort to create a vibrant sporting legacy that sustains Olympic values and sports in Chicago well beyond 2016. World Sport Chicago has also started programs in archery, badminton and fencing and expanded programs in swimming, gymnastics and wrestling.

"As with all of our programs, Mayor Daley's Summer Track Program not only gives Chicago's kids the chance to compete in a great Olympic sport, but also helps foster the Olympic and Paralympic values of education, respect and fair play," said Scott Myers, executive director of World Sport Chicago. "With track and field on the decline in many areas of the country due to specialization on the high school level and budget cuts on the collegiate level, this is an important opportunity to expose kids to this exciting sport that is rich in history."

World Sport Chicago, Friends of Track and Field, Chicago 2016 and the City of Chicago have partnered with Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Track Club to launch the program. For more details about the program, please visit

World Sport Chicago (WSC) is an Illinois not-for-profit working to enhance the image, awareness and participation in Olympic sports across Chicago and to extend Chicago's international outreach through and for sport and youth. Focused on promoting the development of recreational and competitive sport to the area's youth, WSC works closely with Chicago 2016 and Chicago's 2016's Athlete Advisory Counsel (AAC) to provide sport expertise and athlete insight to the execution of these sporting events. WSC intends to aid Chicago in developing a sustainable, international sporting legacy as a real agent of social change for the city. William Scherr, an Olympic medalist in wrestling, is chairman of the board, Michael Conley, two-time Olympic triple-jump medalist, serves as president and Scott Myers serves as the executive director.

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