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Physical fitness by mail.

The Presidential Sports Award program challenges the young (but no younger than 15) and the young at heart (65 and over-how far over being up to the participant) to make a commitment to active participation in sports and fitness activities.

But all couch potatoes be warned: once you have accepted the challenge, you'll be on your way to a more healthful lifestyle. The President's sports program, developed in 1972 and administered by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), is conducted through the convenience of mail.

Tom Leix, special projects coordinator for the AAU, offers plenty of proof of the program's efficacy. Of the some 18,000 who have already profited by the program, he tells of a man who weighed 340 pounds when he started his activity and 15 months later weighed 239 pounds. The man now has earned Presidential Sports Awards in the fitness walking and sports/fitness categories, and he's hoping to lose 39 more pounds working on his swimming award.

Another man wrote, "I used the opportunity to earn the award in conjunction with a diet to shed unwanted pounds.... Well, it worked! Went from 199 to 173 pounds."

Quoting another happy participant: "It has given me incentive to continue exercising.... My health has greatly improved since I've gotten back in shape." Still others mention the award and say, "Thank you for recognizing the work and applauding the results."

Before the awards are mailed they must be earned in one or more of the 49 sports or activities in the program. If you don't go in for the more demanding sports, such as judo, canoe-kayak, ice hockey, or gymnastics, there is fitness walking, rowing, golf, or table tennis. Or how about aerobic dancing, roller-skating, bicycling, or badminton?

To earn the award in the sport you have chosen requires that you put in the time and effort to meet the challenge of personal fitness. The award recognizes your achievement as a part of the nationwide effort toward a healthier, more vital America.

How do you participate?

By obtaining the Presidential Sports Award brochure from the AAU. Send your request to: Presidential Sports Award, P.O. Box 68207, Indianapolis, IN 46268. This brochure provides detailed information on each activity's qualification requirements, as well as a fitness log.

By selecting your sports or activity (or several).

By keeping a record on the fitness log of your participation.

By qualifying with the required number of hours, miles, games, or whatever) and returning the completed and signed fitness log and $6 to the AAU.

in return, you will receive-by mail from the AAU's national headquarters in Indianapolis honors that not only will reward you for your efforts but also will impress, if not inspire, your friends, your neighbors, and your coworkers:

1.) A certificate of achievement from President Bush, personalized with your name and suitable for framing.

2.) A letter of congratulations from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the chairman of the council, suitable for framing.

3.) A blazer patch (embroidered emblem) signifying the sport or fitness activity in which you earn your award.

4.) A sports bag identification tag, imprinted with the award logo.

5.) A "shoe pocket" to hold your valuables and an identification card while running or power walking.

Mr. Leix illustrated the importance of the tag by describing the case of a man struck down while jogging along the highway in Indianapolis. Without pockets in his sweats attire, he carried no identification. Later, in fact much later, he was found to have been a hotel guest. The identification tag laced to his jogging shoes would have solved a lot of problems at the scene.

Mr. Leix, himself an award winner in softball, says that the visibility of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the council is today the muscle behind the program. "I have made a personal commitment toward earning several Presidential Sports Awards," Arnold says, starting with some of my favorite sports-weightlifting, running, tennis, skiing, and swimming."

Giving sports-minded President Bush the last word on this fitness-bymail incentive: "The popularity of sports is most readily explained by the pride each of us can take in trying to be our best and the simple enjoyment of participation.

"A strong, vital America depends on physically fit Americans. Can we depend on you?" A Qualifying Sports 1. Aerobic dance 2. Archery 3. Backpacking 4. Badminton 5. Baseball 6. Basketball 7. Bicycling 8. Bowling 9. Canoe-kayak 10. Climbing 11. Equitation 12. Fencing 13. Field hockey 14. Figure skating 15. Fitness walkin 16. Football 17. Golf 18. Gymnastics 19. Handball 20. Team handball 21. Ice hockey 22. Ice-skating 23. Jogging 24. Judo 25. Karate 26. Marathon 27. Orienteering 28. Racquetball 29. Rifle 30. Roller-skating 31. Rowing 32. Rugby 33. Running 34. Sailing 35. Scuba-skin 36. Skeet-trap 37. Skiing (alpine) 38. Skiing (nordic) 39. Soccer 40. Softball 41. Sports/fitness 42. Squash 43. Swimming 44. Table tennis 45. Tae kwon do 46. Tennis 47. Volleyball 48. Water-skiing 49. Weight training
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Title Annotation:Presidential Sports Award program
Author:Stoddard, Maynard Good
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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