The Olympics have arrived. Not in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but in little Mattituck.
With the real Olympic Games to start on Aug. 5, an early burst of Olympic fever was experienced Monday at the Mattituck-Laurel Library. The library staged its first Rio Crazy Olympics for youngsters who have completed kindergarten, grades 1 and 2.
Fifteen young Olympians participated in the fun event, which was held in an air-conditioned downstairs room at the library, an escape from the heat outdoors.
After a series of warmup exercises, it was time to let the games begin. The youngsters enthusiastically took part in the discus, the broad jump, relay races, the shot put and hurdles.
The big hit at the end, though, was unquestionably the medal ceremony. A gold-colored medal tied to a red, white and blue ribbon was draped around the neck of every participant by Ashley Bush, the director of JumpBunch of Southeast Long Island, who ran the activities.
Bush said the event was an introduction to sports and the Olympic concept for some of the youngsters. She said: “I think the fun thing is these kids, it’s probably the first time watching it and seeing it, so now they’ll be able to watch [the real Olympics] and be like, ‘I did that. I can do that. I learned how to do that,’ and they’ll really be able to relate to it and then take that with them if they want to get into sports later on in life.”
Karen Letteriello, the library’s head of youth services, said this is the first time the library has run the Olympics-themed event. She deemed it a “huge success.”
“They had a great time,” Letteriello said, adding: “We’re not giving them skills. That’s not what it’s about. It’s really just to have fun and to have the idea that these things happen.”
After receiving their medals, the participants all grouped together in a huddle before letting out one loud cheer: “Olympics!”
Photo caption: Alexander Boyd clears the hurdles during the Rio Crazy Olympics at the Mattituck-Laurel Library on Monday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)