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Here's How to Get Involved with the 2018 AAU Junior Olympic Games in DSM USA

AAU Junior Olympics

July 24, 2018

Later this month, 14,000 athletes from across the U.S. will descend on Greater Des Moines (DSM) for the 2018 AAU Junior Olympic Games. The Games, which run July 25 to Aug. 4, will bring an additional 40,000 visitors to DSM, creating an economic impact that is expected to exceed $27 million.

For an event this large, Catch Des Moines is in great need of volunteers.

Volunteering opportunities

Our goal is to have volunteers fill nearly 1,500 shifts to help with the success of the Games. Volunteers are an integral part of creating the best experience for our athletes, officials and visitors. Our excellent volunteers are a major reason the AAU will be hosting their fifth Junior Olympic Games in DSM at the end of July.

Volunteers are needed in the areas of registration, sport support, hospitality and awards. Each volunteer will receive a wristband to the AAU Junior Olympic Games and a t-shirt. Hours can also be recorded for the Silver Cord Program available through several metro schools, if applicable.

Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports, the AAU is one of the largest nonprofit volunteer sports organizations in the country. The AAU Junior Olympic Games is known as the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the country and is the showcase event of the AAU Sports Program. Starting with just over 500 athletes in its first year (1967) in Washington, D.C., the Games have exploded to an expected 14,000 athletes this year.

DSM on a national stage

We are excited to have the AAU Junior Olympic Games back in DSM for the fifth time. Not only does this allow us to host and welcome visitors from all over the country, it gives the community an amazing opportunity to watch these young athletes compete at some of the best sports facilities our region has to offer.

DSM previously hosted the AAU Junior Olympic Games in 1995, 2004, 2009, 2014.


This year, the Games will include competition in 15 sports: track and field, jump rope, boys and girls wrestling, swimming, field hockey, trampoline and tumbling, baton twirling, taekwondo, karate, pickleball, powerlifting, weightlifting, sport stacking and multi-events. A full schedule is available here. Most events will take place at Drake University’s Drake Stadium and the Iowa Events Center. The swim competition will take place Downtown at the Wellmark YMCA and field hockey will be played on Dr. Christine H.B. Grant Field in Iowa City.

Taekwondo Sport stacking

Tickets for the 52nd annual AAU Junior Olympic Games can be purchased onsite from July 25 through Aug. 4. Spectators may purchase a $45 passport for the event, which includes admission to all competition venues throughout the duration of the Games. Daily passes are available for $15. Children 6-years-old or younger receive free admission to the events.

Named as the #1 Metro with the Most Community Pride by Gallup, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is the fastest growing metro in the Midwest. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Jordan Powers

Jordan Powers is director of external affairs at the Des Moines Art Center. A native of the Chicago suburbs, Powers has called Greater Des Moines (DSM) home for nearly five years and loves exploring (and sharing) all the city has to offer.