Kids go for downvalley gold |

Kids go for downvalley gold

Katie Drucker
Eagle Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Preston Utley/Vail Daily

GYPSUM ” As Megan Forbes dashed to the finish line her team ” Team China ” was poised to win the gold medal.

Then she lost her shoe and fell. In true Olympic spirit, Forbes got up, retraced her steps, grabbed her shoe and continued on her way. She crossed the finish line, but not before some of her opponents. China won bronze.

This was the opening event in the 2008 summer Olympic games. However, these Olympics were not taking place in Beijing, China, but at the Gypsum Recreation Center. And Megan Forbes is not yet an Olympic athlete on the world scale, but rather she’s an 8-year-old out to enjoy a summer day.

“That was fun,” said an out-of-breath Forbes after she crossed the finish line.

Forbes was running in a shoe-find relay, in which all 52 kids who competed took off their shoes at one end of the field and placed them in a pile. They ran barefoot from the opposite side of the field, found their shoes, put them on, or tried to put them on and ran back.

The action-packed day, which started at noon and continued to 8 p.m., was filled with relay races, tug-of-war, Frisbee throwing, a hot shot basketball competition, gymnastics, running races and pool competitions. After the games, the kids between five and 14 years old, had pizza and juice and watched the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

By the time the opening ceremonies started, some of the kids were worn out.

“We started watching the opening ceremonies after dinner and some of them used their backpacks as pillows” says Scott Ruff, Gypsum Recreation Center manager.

This year is the first year the recreation center has organized an Olympic field day.

“We are kind of winging this … this is the first time. Which means we are in Athens,” said Coach Rob Jones, Gypsum Recreation Center’s gymnastic director, while running around revving up the kids. “If we [the organizers] have fun, they [the kids] are going to have fun,” he continued.

Carole Bukovich, a mother of an 8-year-old participant, said her son, Jake, had a lot of fun.

“Jake had such a good time. He did not stop talking about it,” she notes.

This recreation center event was $25 for participants, a minimal cost for all-day activities, snacks and dinner, explains Ruff.

As a result of this event’s success, Ruff says the recreation center will have a youth field day again next year to mark the end of the summer. Ruff and his staff are also brainstorming to come up with ideas for big events every quarter.

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