Olympic athletes inspiring local youth track camp

60 kids from Central New York emulated their Olympic heroes this past week, taking part in Syracuse Parks and Recreation Track and Field and Cross Country camp at Sunnycrest Park.

They learned about proper technique in various events like high jump, long jump, hurtles, and the 400m dash, all culminating in today's mini track meet, where all the events were brought together, just like during the Olympics. Cheers enchoed around Sunnycrest Park, as the kids, ranging in ages frrom 8-13, cheered each other on, something the director of the camp, Mike Melfi, says they focused on during the week. He uses the word "support", which the kids took to heart, as they enjoyed the success of each other as much as their own.

Many of the kids liked how they were doing similar activities as the athletes in London, and that at the same time, they were getting better physically as well.

"It's getting you ready for running," Lili Gharakhanzadeh, 9, says. "And be ready to run in most other sports, which usually include running."

And with the Olympics in mind, the kids were dreaming big about their prospects of competing at a high stage some day, most knowing that the Olympians today started out just like them.

"They were in our shoes too," Dominic Morganti, 13, who attends Christian Brothers Academy says. "It's a one in a million chance, but maybe if I work hard enough, and that goes for everyone here, maybe if they work hard enough someday, they'll get a shot at something bigger."

Melfi, who is a runner himself, encouraged the kids to keep dreaming big, often telling them that they too had a chance to make it to the Olympics. He think that because of the stage the Olympics are on, the kids know more about the sports and athletes that come along with the Games.

"If we mention world championship or US championship they may not know that too well," Melfi says. "But once we mention Olympics I think everyone can relate to those rings that the Olympics have."