The world’s top athletes are starting to arrive in Greece for this month’s Olympic Games, but at least 14-thousand of this country’s best young athletes are already in Des Moines for the National A-A-U Junior Olympic Games. Eighteen-year-old Kalen Kropa, the captain of a North Carolina girls basketball team, is visiting Iowa for the first time.
Kropa says she figured there were going to be a lot of corn fields in Iowa, and there are. Kropa says Iowa seems like a “friendly place” that’s “quiet.” There are about one-thousand Iowa kids competing in the games. Tasha Bacon-Kimmel coaches 22 kids who tumble and jump on the trampoline for “Team Flip” in Ottumwa.
She says it’s exciting to have the competition in Iowa because the state is being represented more strongly in these games than when they’re held in other states. Dance is the newest and fastest-growing sport. Ten-year-old Kali Mikelson of Des Moines is one of the dance competitors.
Mikelson says she has a lot of friends who’re involved, and she likes dancing because “it’s a fun activity.”
Mikelson says her goal is to “go to Disneyland some day and dance.” Mikelson says she and her friends get to pour water on their coach if they win 10 gold medals in the games. Organizers expect about 50-thousand athletes, coaches and spectators to be in central Iowa this week for the games. which conclude Saturday. Find a schedule of this week’s events on the Internet at “”.