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Junior Olympic Athletes Competing In Sacramento This Week

Courtesy of the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships

Courtesy of the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships

The Summer Olympics start late next week in Rio de Janeiro. But beginning today in Sacramento, it's the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships, featuring elite athletes from the ages of 7 to 18. The seven-day event is being held at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium.

Mike Sophia is director of the Sacramento Sports Commission. He says the event will give the local economy a nice boost.

"Seventy-five hundred athletes, it's officials, it's coaches, it's parents coming from all around the country to spend a week in Sacramento," says Sophia. "So they'll be spending their money in our hotels, in our restaurants, in our grocery stores, in our shops."

Sophia says Hornet Stadium's $1.4 million track, installed two years ago, makes Sac State a sought-after venue for top-level track and field meets.

He says the event includes two special events. One is the opening ceremony Tuesday night.

"The kids get to come in and do kind of an Olympic-style parade of athletes," says Sophia. "And then on Thursday, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Dwight Stones will be in town to present some awards and interact with the kids, sign some autographs, that sort of thing."

The championships will affect traffic and parking on campus. Traffic controls will be in effect.

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