Dating back to the mid-1960's, the USATF Junior Olympic program is the most visible youth athlete developmental program in the world. Nearly 70,000 youth athletes compete each year in the Junior Olympic Track & Field and Cross Country programs. Many of America's Olympians began as youth athletes, including stars such as Maurice Greene, Allyson Felix, Bryan Clay, John Godina, Deena Kastor, and Allen Johnson.
Through a series of progressional events consisting of preliminary, Association, and Regional meets, athletes have the opportunity to advance to the National Championships in track & field and cross country.
Once USATF members, participants can enter the Junior Olympics either as part of a USATF club or as "unattached." Competition takes place in six (6) 2-year age divisions, from 8 & under through 17-18.