A 62-year-old, annual tradition will resume in June and Flint’s sports and recreation advocates want to spread the word.
In the next few weeks youth and adults of various age and skill levels will start training and practicing team and solo competitions for the upcoming Greater Flint Olympian Games. Winners in the athletic series that features 19 different sports can qualify to enter the CANUSA Games in Hamilton, Ontario, on August 10, 11 and 12.
“It’s been a staple in our community,” says Sean Croudy, co-chair of the Greater Flint Olympian and CANUSA Games.
Croudy, who is also City of Flint director of community recreation, says registration for the Greater Flint Olympian Games is often free with sponsorship or other fees covered through team competitions. Other fees cost as little as $5 to $25 and can be paid beginning June 19 at Flint Southwestern Classical Academy from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“You meet new people,” Croudy says. “You’re also gettting healthy. You have something to do with your family and there’s a mininal cost to attend the games (as a spectator).”
Sports range from swimming, basketball, track and field, tennis, and soccer to wrestling, ice hockey, golf, archery and pickle ball – a hybrid of tennis, badmitten, ping pong – and more.
The competitions will be held throughout the community, including City of Flint-operated venues, and usually attract thousands of athletes from Genesee County.
“It’s been a staple in our community,” Croudy says. “It’s also something to help the gets get out and active and take a break from playing video games all day.”
Facilitators, including referees, judges and coaches, are sanctioned and certified, many with past experience working in Flint school and community athletics, Croudy says.
“It’s a gem of Flint. Other cities had similar games, but we’re one of the last cities to have an international competition,” he says, referring to CANUSA.
Apart from competitive athletics, a key component of CANUSA is the alternating location, which finds visiting youth residing with families in host cities, typically with relatives of the opposing team’s athletes. While the Greater Flint Olympian Games is open to participants in as many events as they choose, they can only qualify to compete in one CANUSA sport.
Though it’s been decades since he competed as a kid, Croudy says he still looks forward to every Greater Flint Olympian and CANUSA seasons.
“This is my 12th year and every year is exciting” he says.
For more information about how to register or participate in the Greater Flint Olympian Games call (810) 760-5252. For more information on the Games please click here.