BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County officials, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis, announced Thursday the Space Coast will host the 54th annual AAU Junior Olympic Games
The Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games draw around 5,000 or more athletes as well as their couches, family members and hundreds of volunteers.
The annual games were previously set to be held in Virginia this year but due to the coronavirus pandemic, AAU officials were notified in May they couldn’t use any sports facilities in the state.
AAU President Dr. Roger J. Goudy said the organization immediately began working with officials in Brevard County as an alternative location. On Thursday, alongside the governor at the Viera Regional Community Center in Melbourne, Goudy announced the games would happen in Florida a few weeks from now despite the ongoing pandemic.
On Thursday, Florida continued to report a growing number of infections of COVID-19, which is spread from person-to-person. The state is quickly approaching 70,000 cases and has reported more than 2,840 deaths since March.
DeSantis said the games bring an estimated $50 million in economic impact to the host region.
“That’s something, obviously in these times, very significant,” DeSantis said referring to the economic fallout from the pandemic.
The Junior Olympic Games will start the third or fourth week in July and run through the first week of August, according to AAU officials.
“These games are gonna look a little different this year because we only got three weeks to plan. It’s gonna be different but it’s gonna be different in a good way -- divert the cliche, if you get a lemon, try to make lemonade,” Goudy said.
Check back for updates on this developing story.