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comments.gif  2003

Isaac,

It was a pleasure to finally get the opportunity to meet you in Michigan this last week.  Both our kids and parents enjoyed participating in the 2003 AAU Junior Olympics.   The Celebration of the Athletes was definately a highlight!  Thank you for allowing the kids to dance that evening.  It was a great experience for them -they would have liked to have danced longer (maybe next year).  It was wonderful to be involved with something that was not just another dance competition.  It was an Olympic event for young athletes.  Participating in the Junior Olympic Games and with the AAU organization is a great opportunity for the Dancesport "youth" competitors.  I hope to see this event continue to grow.  Junior Olympics is a stepping stone to have Dancesport recognized as an Olympic Medal Event someday.

Thank you for your support and dedication!

Kym Zion
New Stars Dancesport Club
Everett, WA

 

Dear Isaac:

Let me first congratulate you on a job well done as National Director for Dancesport, Salsa and Swing at the 2003 AAU Junior Olympics in Detroit, Michigan. My son, David, competed in Dancesport in the Open Youth Division and came home with a silver medal.   I was so touched by the parade of athletes and the medal ceremonies.   I can only imagine the amount of work that you and Laura put into this event.   The qualifying competition in the northeast was extremely tough and I was somewhat disappointed to see that those competitors who did qualify did not attend.   My hope is that the NDCA and USABDA will take a greater part in the AAU Junior Olympic Games so that Dancesport will be represented by the finest young dancers that the United States has to offer.   That way, many more parents will have the opportunity to experience what we did.   Thank you for all your efforts and good luck in the future!

Sincerely, Denise Oliveri

 

Junior Olympics Experience:

Being at the Junior Olympics this year was truly an amazing experience for us.  As Canadians we
were very proud to represent the University of Toronto Dancesport Club and to be part of a great
organization.  To be part of  an elite group of athletes, I was glad to share this great moment with
everyone.  The volunteers and staff of the Junior Olympics made us feel quite at home and we
felt we were part of the  Junior Olympics.

I would like to express my thanks to Isaac Altman  in making Dancesport a reality in the Junior Olympics
and will dedicate my time and efforts to make this a success for Canada to participate.

Again, the Junior Olympics was a wonderful experience and plan to be back year after   year.
 

All the best
Carmelina Brown
Toronto Canada
University of Toronto Dancesport Club

 

From the mother of Jarek Piwowarczyk:

Jarek and Zoia's participation in the 2003 Junior Olympics was indeed a memorable experience.  I was not prepared for the magnitude of the games, which we were told involved about 9,000 young amateur athletes!  DanceSport became an eligible sport in the Games two years ago, due in most part to the passion, drive, determination and energy of Isaac Altman of Miami Florida, and his wife Laura.  Besides the actual competitions, the kids met with athletes of various sports, sharing their differences and their similarities.  What I find promising for the future of DanceSport in the Junior Olympics, is that it is not just open to Championship couples.  Couples in silver, gold and pre-champ also have a chance to train and prepare for the Qulifying Events, and eventually the Games.  Jarek and Zoia, Nathan and Andra broke the ice, being the first Canadian couples to participate, and to bring home medals.  Next year, let's take a BUSLOAD of Canadian participants!

 

 

THE JUNIOR OLYMPIC CORNER

An interesting, non-scientific, survey was taken recently at the 2003 U.S. Dancesport Championships.  Parents, Juniors and Youth competitors were asked if they knew about the 2003 AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Junior Olympic Games and that Dancesport was one of the medal events.  The results were staggering.  Nearly 98% had no idea that Dancesport was in the Junior Olympics, and over 85% did not even know that the  Junior Olympic Games even existed.  When asking the teachers/coaches and organizations the same questions, almost the reverse is true.  Most all professionals and organizations involved with Dancesport have heard of the  Junior Olympic Games and of Dancesport being a medal sport.  Thanks to the generosity of the American Ballroom Company and Mr. John Kimmins, the Amateur Athletic Union had a booth right outside the ballroom.  With information on the tables, including pictures of the 2003 medal winners, front-page article in the Detroit Press, and numerous documentations, the comment most given by the competitors that week was, ďwhy didnít we compete in this and why didnít we know about itĒ.

So you ask yourself, what went wrong?  I decided to corner one of the parents, Mikhail Rositsan, whose son and his partner, Natan and Andra, attended the 2003  Junior Olympic Games representing Canada and won a Bronze medal, are the current Canadian Junior Latin Champions, are the 2003 U.S. Open Junior Latin Champions, and are going to compete at the 2003 World Junior Latin Championships in October.  Here is a brief excerpt of our conversation. 

Isaac Altman:  Mikhail, you and your wife attended the 2003 AAU Junior Olympic Games.  Please tell me briefly of your impressions.

Mikhail Rositsan:  First I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to you and for all the hard work you have been doing for Dancesport.  You have been able to achieve what many have promised, and parents and kids all over the World thank you for this. 

As you may know, our family is very entrenched in the competitive Dancesport World.  We travel to all the major competitions in the World, so when we attended the Junior Olympics, we were very curious on how this would be organized.  To my amazement, it was very well structured.  When my son and his partner came to the Junior Olympics, they felt for the very first time that Dancesport was a real sport.  This was the consensus of many of the kids and parents alike. 

Isaac Altman:  What did you think about the competition being on stage?

Mikhail Rositsan:  It was very interesting and unique.  The kids adapted very quickly.  I would prefer to see more of a ballroom setting, as this would eliminate the kids having to worry about the end of the stage.  A stage does give you an added sense of performance, but a gym or ballroom would be more practical.

Isaac Altman:  What would you like to see improved in the future?

Mikhail Rositsan:  It is easy to improve the venues, dance floors, music, etc., but in a word, Isaac, participation.  Although the Junior Olympics had a huge improvement in participation this year as opposed to last year, I am disappointed that the National and International Organizations of Dancesport did not spread the word to the parents.  They should give the proper information to the parents so we are aware that this exists.  This makes me very angry as a parent.  We found out about it only 2 weeks prior because we were at the Yankee Classic and discovered it was a qualifying event for the Junior Olympics.  We saw nothing in any kind of publication.  Subsequently, only 2 couples from Canada competed.  This was very, very disappointing.  When I talked to other parents about the Junior Olympics after we returned from Detroit, other parents wanted their kids to compete but were given no information.  This infuriated many of them.  I canít understand it.  The IDSF President of Canada, Mr. Frasier, in each of his opening speeches mentions the hope of getting DanceSport into the Olympics, but how can we believe in this hope with no information on the Junior Olympic Games? 

Isaac Altman:  Mikhail, maybe politics played a factor in all of this. 

Mikhail Rositsan:  Isaac, all of us know that there is rivalry and politics going on between professional organizations and amateur organizations in Dancesport, however, kids and parents do not want to be the pawns of these disputes of power.  Kids only want to compete.  The Junior Olympics represents Sports.  You have brought Dancesport to the Amateur Athletic Union and to the Junior Olympics despite politics and every parent involved in Dancesport around the world thanks you.  One of the most inspirational moments I had during the weekend of the Junior Olympics happened to be at our hotel.  My son and his partner along with some of the kids from New York and New Jersey were sitting in the lobby talking to some girls from a gymnastic team from the United States who competed.  What a sight!  Everyone was interested in each otherís discipline.  What happened next, is what sports is all about.  The girls said if we show you a gymnastic move, would you show us a dance move?  Well, in the lobby, we had a show unto itself.  For about 45 minutes, it went back and forth.  Dance move, gymnastic move.  I could see that a special bonding was occurring.  The mutual respect and admiration amongst sports and kids that I witnessed was unbelievable!  Again, Isaac, I thank you giving our kids this monumental experience.

Isaac Altman:  No, Mikhail, thank you!  Support from parents around the World has been pouring in to me via email and letters.  It is parents like you that will make the  Junior Olympic Games the most prestigious and recognized Dancesport Championship in the World.  It is coaches like Victor Kanevsky who helped me spread the word to parents and urged them to attend that will make the difference.  It is men with vision like John Kimmins who placed an Amateur Athletic Union booth by the ballroom door of this year USDSCís so I could spread the word.  Ultimately, it is you parents who sacrifice your time and money to have your kids in one of the greatest pastimes and sports.  I hope through this conversation and the networking of parents and coaches, the AAU Junior Olympic Games will become the stepping-stone to the Olympic Games as it has been for many other sports.  Thank you for your time Mikhail and your insight.

If youíre a parent or coach and would like to know more about the AAU Junior Olympic Games, please contact me at ialtman@msn.com or call me toll free in the United States at 1-888-825-7768.  You can also write me at Isaac Altman, c/o World Salsa Federation, 8080 SW 81 Drive, Miami, Fl. 33143

 

 

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