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Des Moines to host AAU Junior Olympics in 2026, 2030

2023 games to have $44 million economic impact locally


The AAU Junior Olympic Games will return to Central Iowa in 2026 and 2030, the organization announced today.

Des Moines is also set to host the games, the largest multisport event for youths in the country, in 2023. It will feature 12 competitions at Drake Stadium and the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex in West Des Moines.

According to Catch Des Moines, the 2023 AAU Junior Olympic Games will bring 14,000 participants to the area with an estimated $44 million in economic impact.

“We are thrilled to welcome back the AAU Junior Olympic Games to Greater Des Moines and forge a relationship for this next decade,” said Greg Edwards, president and CEO of Catch Des Moines.

Next year will be the seventh time the games have been held in Des Moines. The first time was in 1995. The most recent was in 2018. Edwards said it is one of the largest events Catch Des Moines brings to the region.

Scheduled events for next year’s games include fencing, field hockey, karate, swimming, taekwondo, track and field, trampoline and tumbling, boys’ and girls’ wrestling, baton twirling, and jump rope.

Jennings “Rusty” Buchanan, AAU president and CEO, said the organization is excited to bring the games back to Des Moines.

“Des Moines has the experience that we can count on to run a successful event, creating once-in-a-lifetime participation opportunities for youth athletes across the country,” he said. “As our event has grown over the years, it’s been exciting to see Greater Des Moines grow as a region as well, offering not only the venues to host, but the amenities and things to do that make coming back such a fun experience for our athletes, coaches and families.”

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