Little Olympians

Children compete in Junior Olympiad sporting events
Aug. 26, 2013 @ 09:56 AM

The Lake Lure Olympiad isn't just for grown-ups.

On Saturday morning children had the opportunity to test their skills in a variety of sporting events to earn medals as part of the Junior Olympiad on the beach at Rumbling Bald Resort.

"We live right here at the resort and have been participating in the Olympiad for three years now," said Mary Yacovelli, whose two sons J.J., 8, and James Francis, 3, spent the afternoon competing in the Junior Olympiad.

"My favorite is the obstacle course," J.J. said, "because I can do the whole monkey bars."

A fun and easy timed skill event, the obstacle course consists of running, jumping, climbing, sliding and crawling through a series of objects and obstacles.

Children also tried their hands at the baseball throw, seeing how many baseballs they could sink into three buckets of varying distances.

Seven-year-old Kamari Felton from Burlington excelled at the baseball throw, although he said he favored the obstacle course the most.

Other events in the Junior Olympiad included the standing broad jump to test how far children could jump from a standing position, soccer kicks to see how many goals they could score and swimming heats to measure their skills in the water.

Lonnie LePore traveled from Asheville to compete in Saturday's triathlon for the second year, also bringing along his kids, Suri and Skyler, to participate for their first year in the Junior Olympiad.

Three-year-old Suri's favorite event was swimming, while Sklyer, 8, enjoyed kicking soccer balls into a goal.

"This is a great place with a good race and many family oriented events and activities," LePore said.

Two of the most popular Junior Olympiad events were the basketball shoot and the 40-yard dash.

Mike McBrierty from Chapel Hill raced in the triathlon for the first time and brought along his family, including 9-year-old daughter Callie, who said she liked participating in the basketball shoot.

During the basketball shoot, children attempted to sink as many of 10 shots as possible. A standard height hoop was used for older kids while the hoop was lowered for younger kids.

"This is my second year at the Olympiad and I like basketball the most because I've played for three years," said 12-year-old Jesse Dickenson from McDowell County.

Her friend, Amy Morgan, 12, also from McDowell County, has spent four years participating in the Junior Olympiad.

"I really like the 40-yard dash," Morgan said, "since I do track pack at school and 5Ks."

The 40-yard dash pitted children against the clock, racing to the finish line to hear their final times.

Children participating in the Junior Olympiad had the option of entering one or all of the events, and medals were awarded for each event afterwards.

In addition, participants joined in other kids' games involving hula hoops, water balloons, limbo, sack races and frozen t-shirts.

With adults and their children being able to share in the spirit of competitive events, the Lake Lure Olympiad is attractive to both athletes and their families.

Considered by athletes as one of the most scenic race weekends on their calendars, the Lake Lure Olympiad is anchored by a "3 Races in 3 Days Challenge" and includes the 10K Dam Run, Lake Lure Triathlon and Race to the Rock.

Die-hard athletes also had a chance to participate in the USMS Dixie Zone 2 Mile Open Water Swim Championship.

Since 2005, the Olympiad has donated $220,000 to area nonprofit organizations.

Today is the final day of events with the 25-mile Race to the Rock at 7:30 a.m. and a 5K Run starting at 7:45 a.m., both taking place in Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.