Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Thousands of amateur athletes compete in Frisco on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend
The Winter Games of Texas includes tournaments in martial arts, fencing, gymnastics, table tennis, and more.
FRISCO On Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend, nearly 3,000 amateur athletes will compete for medals at the Winter Games of Texas in Frisco. The competition featuring sports like fencing, figure skating, flag football, and more, has been hosted in Frisco since 2006.
Athletes as young as 5 years old up to adults in their 60s and 70s can compete simply by signing up.
The games are patterned after the Olympics in that the organizers play host to several sports, said Chaney Muench, event manager for Winter Games of Texas. However, the Winter Games of Texas does not have an affiliation with the Olympics. In some sports, a medal at the Winter Games of Texas can send an athlete to the State Games of America, however, a competition every two years at rotating venues across the U.S.
For some athletes at the Winter Games in Frisco, it's their first time in a tournament. "This is so people can get better and start competing," Muench said.
The Winter Games was started in the mid-2000s to give cold-weather sports center stage. The Summer Games of Texas, hosted at various venues in Texas, had been going on for nearly 30 years and focuses on track & field and swimming. Leaders at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation, which sanctions the Games, chose the city of Frisco to host the first Winter Games. It will continue to be housed in Frisco until 2013, per a contract. City leaders and organizers at the Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau are considering whether to extend the contract.
"Frisco is a natural fit for this," Muench said. "We've got terrific parks here. We have a forward-thinking city government, and our visitor's bureau is very aggressive in trying to label Frisco as a national sports destination, not just a local one."
Several hundred volunteers will help with the Winter Games. See a schedule of the Winter Games here.
Shannon Sutlief contributed to this story.
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