Amateur Athletic Union

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The Amateur Athletic Union ( AAU ) is a United States based and operating organization dedicated to amateur sport.


The AAU was founded in 1888 with the aim of creating general standards in amateur sports and harmonizing the differences between the individual sports that existed at the time . The association was established on January 21, 1888. Most of the United States national championships have since taken place under the direction of the AAU. The AAU, which acted as a state-supported association soon after it was founded, represented US sport within the various international sports associations and has grown into one of the leading and most influential associations there over the years.

The AAU worked closely with the then existing United States Olympic Committee to prepare the US athletes for the Olympic Games . One contribution to this was the introduction of the AAU Junior Olympic Games in 1949 , which are held annually up to the present day and in which young people between the ages of 8 and 16 years (and older in certain sports) can take part. Many world and Olympic champions have emerged from this event in the past, especially in athletics .

In the 1970s , the AAU came under increasing criticism thanks to its dominant position. The unauthorized action in the implementation of an outdated set of rules, in which z. For example, women were banned from participating in certain running competitions, or runners who were banned from participating in competitions with sporting goods that did not match the brand of the sponsor recruited by the AAU , ultimately led to disempowerment. Since in the dispute with the university sports association NCAA at the Summer Olympics in 1976, despite the home advantage, only third place behind the GDR was achieved, the congress intervened and disempowered the AAU. The Amateur Sports Act of 1978 reorganized the United States Olympic Committee and provided for the establishment of state-sponsored independent associations for the Olympic sports .

As a result, the AAU lost its influence and importance for international sport and concentrated on helping and promoting predominantly young athletes, as well as on the organization of national sporting events.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Allen Guttmann: The games must go on , ISBN 978-0-231-05444-7 , p. 32 online
  2. ^ Arnd Krüger : The American sport between isolationism and internationalism. In: Leistungssport 18 (1988), 1, pp. 43-50.
  3. Annette R. Hofmann (Ed.): Sport in the USA . Münster: Waxmann, 2012. ISBN 383092626X .