The LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games announced it will invest USD9.6 million (EUR8.06 million) to fund youth sports across Los Angeles, helping bring kids back to sport and fitness as the community moves forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The USD9.6 million investment is part of LA28’s USD160 million (EUR134.4 million) commitment to make sports more accessible to kids across Los Angeles ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028, the single largest commitment for youth sport development ever in California.
“There’s never been a more important time to get kids back to sports,” said LA28 Chief Athlete Officer and five-time Olympic medallist Janet Evans.
“After an incredibly trying 15 months, it’s time to get out there and play. Fitness and competition give kids opportunities to connect with friends and improve their physical and mental health. We couldn’t be more excited to get kids back on the field and in the gym experiencing the joy of sport.”
LA28 has granted $9.6 million to LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks to subsidise participation fees for leagues, classes and clinics ranging from tennis and golf to basketball and soccer to judo and teqball for kids ages 18 and under.
The grant is dedicated to support quality sport programming in well-maintained, safe environments with trained coaches at more than 123 recreation centres and sport facilities across Los Angeles through the Spring 2022 season, emphasising support in areas that serve low-income neighbourhoods.
“One of the key objectives of the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games is to use the power of sport to boost the wellbeing, health and education of young people, regardless of their economic background, gender or ability,” said LA28 Coordination Commission Chair Nicole Hoevertsz who competed in synchronised swimming for Aruba at the LA84 Olympic Games.
“This ambition is particularly important today, as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. When Los Angeles was chosen to host the Games, the International Olympic Committee and LA28 agreed that up to USD 160 million would be invested in local youth sports leading up to the Games, and today’s announcement is a major step toward achieving this goal. We are excited to help create the right conditions for kids across Los Angeles to participate in and grow through sport.”
All programmes and activities will follow Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidance.