USA Track & Field and American Sports Medicine Encourage Kids to "Be A Champion"

09-21-2004

Contact:
Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field
317-261-0478 x360

INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field (USATF) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) today announced a new joint program, "Be A Champion," a health initiative for young people which promotes fitness, fair play and the benefits of physical activity, particularly running, walking and other activities that require only a pair of athletic shoes. The program also will address the dangers of drug and supplement use in order to encourage kids to be healthy, active and drug-free in sports and in life.

"Be A Champion" is aimed at educating youth, parents, educators and coaches about the positive results that come from leading a physically active, drug-free and healthy lifestyle. The program will be introduced first through community outreach activities in schools and regional youth organizations, and later through clinics for coaches, trainers and healthcare personnel involved with youth sports.

Beginning this October, U.S. track and field star athletes will appear in school convocations to deliver health promotion messages and encourage kids to take the "Be A Champion" pledge. Students in grades K-12 will be introduced to the "Be A Champion" program and recite the pledge, a promise to incorporate more activity into each day and pursue drug- and supplement-free participation in sports and recreation. (See below.) The program will be launched October 7 at the USA Track & Field Elite Athlete Summit in Miami, Florida, and will be incorporated into the 2004 USATF Annual Meeting in Portland; all 2005 USATF Golden Spike Tour stops; elite athlete camps and events, USATF national championship events; and other official gatherings around the country.

"Promoting youth fitness, especially as American school systems continue to cut physical education programs, is one of the strategic objectives of USA Track & Field," said Craig Masback, USATF CEO. "By partnering with ACSM, our athletes, volunteers and grass roots organizations, we will be able to effectively show American young people that there is a right way to be healthy and fit. Having Olympic athletes as well as medical professionals be part of the program is vital to its success."

In the professional sector, "Be A Champion" will highlight opportunities for sport-specific continuing education, enhanced meeting programming and greater professional development opportunities for sports medicine and exercise science professionals.

"Be A Champion expresses a shared goal and commitment to develop resources that will enhance physical activity, safe sports participation, fitness, and the overall health of young people," said James R. Whitehead, ACSM Executive Vice President. "Our experts and athletes together can reach out to young athletes, obese and inactive children, parents and coaches to help kids develop a life-long commitment to healthy living."

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 International, National, and Regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

USA Track & Field is the national governing body for track & field, long distance running and race walking. With more than 80,000 members nationwide, USATF serves 57 regional Associations and 2,250 clubs. USATF member organizations include the U.S. Olympic Committee, NCAA, NAIA, National Federation of State High School Associations, Road Runners Club of America and Running USA.

Click here to listen to the media teleconference announcing the new "Be A Champion" program.

Below is the text of the "Be A Champion" pledge, which will students in the program will recite and which will appear on "Be A Champion" postcards, posters, web sites and other materials:

The Be A Champion pledge:

I COMMIT to being physically fit,
and I will lead a HEALTHY lifestyle.

I will have a positive ATTITUDE,
and through strong MOTIVATION,
I will work hard and take PRIDE
in everything I say and do.

I will stay in school, because INTELLIGENCE is power,
and strive to OVERCOME the adversity I will face, and
I will be honest and drug-free, knowing cheaters NEVER win.

I am a Champion!