The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is an amateur sports organization based in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. It claims to have over 670,000 participants and over 100,000 volunteers.
The AAU was founded on January 21, 1888, with the goal of creating common standards in amateur sport. Since then, most national championships in the United States have taken place under AAU leadership. From its founding as a publicly supported organization, the AAU has represented US sports within the various international sports federations. It has grown over the years to become one of the leading and most influential associations.
The AAU formerly worked closely with the United States Olympic Committee to prepare US athletes for the Olympic Games. As part of this, the AAU Junior Olympic Games were introduced in 1949. Young people 8 to 16 years of age, or older in certain sports, can participate in these games. Many future World and Olympic champions have appeared in these events, which are still held every year