Competitive Fitness Activities - Unit Olympics

The unit olympics is a multifaceted event that can be tailored to any unit to provide athletic participation for all soldiers. The objective is to incorporate into a team-level competition athletic, events that represent all five fitness components. The competition can be within a unit or between competing units. When conducted with enthusiasm, it promotes team spirit and provides a good workout. It is a good diversion from the regular PT session.
A unit olympics, if well promoted from the top and well staged by the project NCO or officer, can be a good precursor to an SDT or the EIB test.

The Olympics should include events that challenge the soldiers’ muscular strength and endurance, aerobic endurance, flexibility, agility, speed, and related sports skills.
Events can be held for both individuals and teams, and they should be designed so that both male and female soldiers can take part. Each soldier should be required to do a minimum number of events. Teams should wear a distinctively marked item such as a T-shirt or arm band. This adds character to the event and sets teams apart from each other. A warm-up should precede and a cool-down should follow the events.
The following are examples of athletic events that could be included in a unit Olympics:

Push-Up Derby
This is a timed event using four-member teams. The objective is for the team to do as many correct push-ups as possible within a four-minute time limit. Only one team member does push-ups at a time. The four team members may rotate as often as desired.

Sandbag Relay
This event uses four-man teams for a running relay around a quarter-mile track carrying sandbags. One player from each team lines up at the starting line with a full sandbag in each hand. He hands the sandbags off to a teammate when he finishes his part of the race. This continues until the last team player crosses the finish line. Placings are determined by the teams’ order of finish.

Team Flexibility
In this event, if teams are numerically equal, all members of each team should participate. If not, as many team members should participate as possible. Each team’s anchor person places his foot against a wall or a curb. He stretches his other foot as far away as possible as in doing a split. The next team member puts one foot against the anchor man’s extended foot and does a split-stretch. This goes on until all team members are stretched. They cover as much distance as possible keeping in contact with each other. The team that stretches farthest from the start point without a break in their chain is the winner.

Medicine-Ball Throw
This event uses four-member teams. The teams begin by throwing the ball from the same starting line. When it lands, the ball is marked for each team thrower, and the next team player throws from this spot. This is repeated until all the team’s players have thrown. The team whose combined throws
cover the most distance is the winner.

Job-Related Events
The organizer should use his imagination when planning activities. He may incorporate soldier skills required of an MOS. For instance, he could devise a timed land-navigation event geared toward soldiers with an MOS of 11 C. The team would carry an 81-mm mortar (tube, tripod, and baseplate) to three different locations, each a mile apart, and set it up in a firing configuration. This type of event is excellent for fine-tuning job skills and is also physically challenging.

The commander, ranking person, or ceremony host gives an inspirational speech before the opening ceremonies, welcoming competitors and wishing them good luck. The Olympics is officially opened with a torch lighting. This is followed by a short symbolic parade of all the teams. The teams are then put back into formation, and team captains lead motivating chants. The master of ceremonies (MC) announces the sequence of events and rules for each event. The games then begin.

The MC should have one assistant per team who will judge that one team during each event. Assistants give input on events that need a numerical count. The MC monitors the point accumulation of each team. Points are awarded for each event as follows:
• First = 4 points.
• Second = 3 points.
• Third = 2 points.
• Fourth = 1 point.
When two teams tie an event, the Points are added together and split equally between them. After the competition ends, the totaled point scores for each team are figured. The first- through fourth-place teams are then recognized.